An uncle’s dying wish, a disobedient nephew, and an immensely talented artist all come together in the marvelous story of the handscroll, Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, a magnificent work created by Huang Gongwang in the fourteenth century. The latter half of this scroll, which measures more than 20 feet in length, is housed in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, and comes to life in the exhibition and accompanying catalogue, Landscape Reunited: Huang Gongwang and “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.”
Many folkloric stories follow the scroll, but one of the more popular tales tells of a wealthy man, Wu Hongyu, who once owned the scroll. So obsessed was he with this handscroll that, approaching death, he demanded that his nephew burn the scroll as part of Wu’s funeral pyre. The nephew agreed but at the very last minute retrieved the scroll, only slightly damaged from the flames. These remnants, now severed in two parts, are widely considered some of the most exceptional examples of 14th-century Chinese literati painting.
The landscapes depicted by Gongwang become the focus of this volume, which examines the gentle manipulations of brush and ink as part of Gongwang’s original execution. Placing these works within the context of Gongwang’s career, this catalogue also looks to the legacy of Gongwang’s work and its impact not only among the artists of his generation but also of the generations following. Landscape Reunited is beautifully illustrated, expertly researched, and makes a marvelous read for those fascinated by the literati tradition.