Night Rain on the Xiao and Xiang Rivers

Accession Number

Night Rain on the Xiao and Xiang Rivers

Chang Ku-nien

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink on paper

29 3/8 in x 16 in (74.6 cm x 40.6 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Cheng-Yang and Mrs. Shirley Chang

Label copy
Chang Ku-nien
Chinese, 1906–1987
Night Rain on the Xiao and Xiang Rivers 
circa 1975–87
Hanging scroll, Ink on paper
Gift of Dr. Cheng-Yang and Mrs. Shirley Chang, 2006/1.127    

In this painting, Chang Ku-nien represents a scene from the famous Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang—landscapes that had been depicted by literati (amateur scholar-artist) poets and painters since the Song dynasty (960–1279). Located in Hunan province in mainland China, the area offers scenic views of the Jiuyi mountain range, Dongting Lake, and numerous rivers. In literati art, landscapes are often imaginary rather than real, and for centuries views of Xiao and Xiang conformed to established conventions: the river scene, for example, is often represented at night and in rain. Chang frequently used ink washes to convey atmosphere in his depictions of mainland Chinese landscapes, making them appear vague, distant, and dreamlike—like a faded memory of a remote homeland that will not be seen again.

Subject matter
Chang Ku-nien is from the last generation of artists trained in the centuries-old tradition of Chinese literati painting. He was instrumental in the revival of the practice of traditional Chinese painting that had languished under the cultural influence of Japan during its occupation of Taiwan. He was one of very few mainland painters from his generation to explore the scenery of Taiwan, where he lived in exile, using the methods of traditional Chinese ink painting.

Physical Description
In this landscape a misty, meandering river is depicted with two boathouses along its banks. Reeds and other foliage grow lush along the banks, partially obscuring the boathouse in the foreground. Accompanying text is in the upper register.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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pavilions (garden structures)

1 Related Resource

Ink and Realisms
(Part of: Artist Associations and Art Movements)

& Author Notes

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