Travelers on a Mountain Path

Fan K'uan (ca. early 11th century), Sung dynasty (A.D. 960 1279)
Ink on silk. Hanging scroll. 206.3 x 103.3 cm.

Fan K'uan was a native of Shansi. In landscapes he first followed Li Ch'eng, and then Ching Hao, and finally established his own style.
A massive peak dominates the composition. A monastery nestles in the recesses of a cliff, half hidden by the dense growth of trees. A wooden bridge hovers sturdily over a rushing torrent, while a group of travelers emerges inconspicuously from the woods. Throughout the painting jagged brush-work resembling a knife scraping on iron has been employed, giving the work a pungent, fullbodied weightiness. This monument is certainly the most priceless extant work of this master.

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