Album of Miniature Landscapes, 1804
Ink and color on paper, 7 5/8 x 4 7/8” (each leaf)
Gift of William Bingham II from the Peterson Collection
Landscapes were the primary subject of painting from the 10th century on and continued as a prominent genre throughout Chinese art history. The early purpose of Chinese landscape painting was to create a feeling or atmosphere associated with nature instead of to realistically depict the scene.
Find the album leaf with soft rounded strokes, while walking your eyes through this leaf, find a place on the riverbank and settle into a grassy patch. The moist warm environment creates a pillow of relaxation. Notice the cohesion of brushstrokes floating together creating a dreamlike interpretation of nature. The small dotted brush stroke for this world comes from the inspiration of Mi Fu, a Song dynasty landscape painter, who lived nearly 700 years before the artist Zhang Peidun. The surrounding rocks, trees, and mountains are both homage to Mi Fu and a means for the artist to interpret nature in his own voice. Stroll around in the miniature world and observe the quiet mountains, smell the blooming trees, and hear the trickle of water. As you leave this image and journey to the next, think about what kind of feeling and emotion each painting gives to you.