Mountains of the Immortals

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Mountains of the Immortals (瀛山圖)

Attributed to Wang Shen (王詵, ca.1048-1122), Song Dynasty (960-1279)

Handscroll, ink and colors on silk, 24.5 x 145.1 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       This painting of lofty ranges and a flowing river features thatched village buildings in the mountains with distant waters and level shoals as well as scattered boats. The artist's inscription at the end above a distant peak states he had a dream one day about wandering in the mountains of immortals, which inspired him to do this work. The hills and valleys are done in a blue-and-green manner with meticulous brushwork, imparting an archaic elegance fully conveying the dream-like scene. The "blue-and-green" landscape technique here was done in simple outlines to which colors were added for an archaic feeling very similar to the method used in this type of work by the Southern Song painter Qian Xuan (錢選, 1239-1301), differing from other surviving works by Wang Shen.

Wang Shen: Mountains of the Immortals