Jiang Song (attributed to), Taking a lute to visit a friend, a hanging scroll painting in ink and slight colour on silk

Zheijang province, China
Ming dynasty, around AD 1500

A scholar and his servant who carries his lute (qin) are shown travelling through a valley. In the foreground, a large rock textured with 'axe-cut' strokes draws the viewer's eye into the painting. The grove of trees next to it links the foreground with the imposing peaks rising from the mists in the background. This painting is a fine example of the Zhe School, which took its name from Zhejiang province. Paintings from the school are characterized by the distinctive composition, the scale of the human figures and the effective gradation of ink-wash techniques to create misty effects. The artists were primarily professional and court painters who modelled their style after the romantic landscape traditions of the Southern Song Academy (twelfth to thirteenth century).

The painting is currently attributed to Jiang Song (active about 1500), a professional artist from Nanjing. This is based on its similarity in subject matter, composition and brushstyle to other surviving, and signed, works by this artist.

The artist's signature, normally found in the top left-hand corner, appears to have been cut out and replaced with a blank patch of silk. When the scroll was last remounted over a century ago, a label with an attribution to the Song painter, Xu Daoning (active in the first half of the eleventh century), was added. From the late Ming period onwards, art critics condemned the style of the Zhe school, and paintings were often re-attributed to make them more acceptable.

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More information


A. Farrer, The brush dances and the ink s (Hayward Gallery, London, 1990)

R. Whitfield, 'Che School paintings in the British Museum', Burlington Magazine-3, 114: 830 (May 1972), pp. 285-94

K. Suzuki (ed.), Comprehensive illustrated cata (University of Tokyo Press, 1982)

J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

R. M. Barnhart and others, Painters of the great ming : t (Dallas Museum of Art, 1993)


Height: 1485.000 mm
Width: 895.000 mm

Museum number

Asia OA 1947.7-12.04 (Chinese Painting Add. 228)


Bequeathed by Henry J. Oppenheim


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