Storied Mountains and Dense Forests

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Storied Mountains and Dense Forests (層巖叢樹圖)

Juran (fl. latter half of 10th c.), Five Dynasties Period (907-960)

Hanging scroll, ink on silk, 144.1 x 55.4 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       After a sudden downpour, some dampness still lingers amongst the mountains and hills. A narrow, twisting path winds its way silently through the forest, and - as if afraid to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere - there is no activity on the road, and not even the trees by the path stand out in any special manner. On the left, the mountains are piled one after another in an orderly fashion, and their surfaces seem especially gentle and calm depicted with thin, long lines. Under the artist's delicate brush, the world formed by these mountains and trees seems to have stopped, and even the air itself seems to have frozen in the calm. Looking at the peaks, small pebbles are piled on top, while the body of the mountain is covered in long, gentle lines like tracks made by the rain as it falls over the mountain. This way of portraying mountain rock later gained a technical term in art history, being known respectively as "alum heads (卵石, 礬頭)" and "hemp-fiber texture strokes (披麻皴)". Based on these characteristics is the stylistic relationship between Dong Yuan and Juran.

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