“The Five Famous Mountains may transcend peaks elsewhere, but Mount Huang tops even those.” Among his visits to famous mountains around the world, Zhang Daqian was only ever fond of Mount Huang, as expressed in his countless paintings of the rugged marvel. While attributable to his early instruction in landscape painting after Shitao, Hongren and Mei Qing – all of whom were part of the Huangshan School of Painting – Zhang’s lifelong enjoyment of mountains commenced with his first visit to Mount Huang.
Painted in Zhang Daqian’s later years, Pine Trees and Clouds in Mount Huang exhibits Zhang’s characteristic traits during this period. Besides silhouetting the peaks with a thick brush, Zhang relays their intricate veins and rocky texture through applying ink of varying dampness. It is believed that Zhang was inspired by the works of Southern Song Buddhist Monk Mu Xi, where such minimalistic and light strokes were used. As the mountains merge into the backdrop, Zhang portrays the vast sea of clouds with wispy ripples in the blank spaces. Majestic and visionary, the metamorphosis of Mount Huang, from soaring summit to swirl of sapphire and jadeite ink, astounds and awes.