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Temple on a Mountain Ledge
Kuncan (1612 - about 1686)
China; Qing period (1644-1911), dated 1661
Hanging scroll; Ink and color on paper
Image only, H. 33 1/2 in. (85.1 cm); W. 19 in. (48.3 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The pulsating energy and naturalistic forms seen in Temple on a Mountain Ledge by Kuncan typify the painter's work and distinguish it from the more abstract compositions favored by his contemporaries. The landscape shows a solitary fisherman enjoying the quiet atmosphere surrounding a Buddhist temple. Air and light fill the painting, enhancing both the grandeur of the mountains and the peacefulness of the scene. The two groups of buildings located in the foreground and the middle ground of this painting must represent some of the complexes at the Bao'en monastery, as they are similar to those in paintings known to depict the site. The poem on the upper right side of the painting can be understood as both a reference to the artist's early wanderings and as a metaphor for the Buddhist quest for enlightenment to which he dedicated his life.
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