Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (Xiao-Xiang ba jing)

Wang Hong (act. ca. 1131-ca. 1161)
Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (Xiao-Xiang ba jing)
China, Southern Song
ca. 1150
Painting, Handscroll
Pair of handscrolls (each scroll with four sections of paintings and colophons)
Ink and light colors on silk
Painting average each section 23.4 x 90.7 cm
Edward L. Elliott Family Collection. Museum purchase, Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund
y1984-14 a-b

The eight paintings in these scrolls are thought to be the oldest surviving complete version of the Eight Views, a landscape theme that became popular in the late eleventh century. Xiao-Xiang refers to the region in present-day Hunan province where the Xiao and Xiang rivers converge. Painters of the Eight Views were not interested in representing specific sights along the rivers, nor in describing a narrative; rather, they were trying to portray in ink and wash the lyrical qualities of dim light and misty atmosphere typical of that region. Each of the poetic titles suggests a time of day, a season, or specific atmospheric conditions—subjects that challenged the abilities of the most talented artists. The Eight Views are: "Geese Alighting on a Sandy Shore," "Sails off Distant Shores," Mountain Village in Clearing Mist," "Autumn Moon over Lake Dongting," " Night Rain over Xiao-Xiang," " Evening Bell from a Mist-shrouded Temple," "Sunset Glow over a Fishing Village," and "Evening Snow Blending River and Sky."

A native of Sichuan, little is known of Wang Hong's life, and these paintings are his only known extant works. The eclectic brushwork styles and the use of colors on the fall trees, architectural structures, and wintry mountains may indicate a regional Sichuan painting style, a revival of the Fan Kuan tradition, or a transitional style between Northern and Southern Song periods.

Published References & Reproductions

Wang Hong, Song Wang Hong Xiao-Xiang bajing tu juan (An Illustrated Portfolio of the Song Dynasty Wang Hong Scroll of Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang), introd. by Luo Yuanjue (Hong Kong, [1960?]).

Suzuki Kei entry in Suzuki Kei and Akiyama Terukazu, eds., Chugoku bijutsu (Chinese Art in Western Collections) (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1972-73), vol. 1 pls. 8 and 9, pp. 220-21.

Suzuki Kei entry in Suzuki Kei, ed., Suiboku bijutsu taikei (Compendium of Ink Painting) (Tokyo: Kodansha, 1974), vol. 2, pls. 8 and 9, p. 156.

Watanabe Akiyoshi, Shōshō hakkei zu (Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers) Nihon no bijutsu, no. 124 (Tokyo: Shibundō, 1976), pp. 24-25, pl. 22.

Ishikawa Jun et al., eds., Bunjinga suihen (Selection of the Finest Chinese and Japanese Literati Paintings) (Tokyo: Chūōkōronsha, 1977), vol. 2, p. 119, figs. 11-12, pls. 71, 72.

Miyazaki Ichisada et al., Sōgen no bijutsu (Art of the Chinese Song and Yuan Dynasties) (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1980), p. 209, fig. 65.

Suzuki Kei, comp., Chūgoku kaiga sōgō zuroku: daiikkan, America-Kanada hen (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Paintings, Vol. 1: American and Canadian Collections) (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1982), pp. 136-37, pl. A17-066.

Wen C. Fong, et al., Images of the Mind (Princeton: The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1984), cat. no. 4, pp. 266-77.

Alfreda Murck, "Eight Views of the Hsiao and Hsiang Rivers by Wang Hong," in Wen C. Fong, et al., Images of the Mind (Princeton: The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1984), pp. 214-35.

Suzuki Kei, Chūgoku kaigashi (History of Chinese Painting) (Tokyo: Yoshikawa kobunkan, 1984), vol. 2, pls. 29-2, 29-3, pp. 90.

Richard M. Barnhart, "Shining Rivers: Eight Views of the Hsiao and Hsiang in Sung Painting," in Proceedings of the International Colloquium on Chinese Art History, Vol. 1: Paintings and Calligraphy, Part I (Taibei: National Palace Museum, 1991), pp. 48-95.

Ogawa Hiromitsu, "Chugoku sansuiga hyakusen" ("One Hundred Chinese Landscapes"), entry 33.

Alfreda Murck, "The meaning of the Eight Views of Hsiao-Hsiang: poetry and painting in Sung China," Ph.D. dissertation (Princeton University, 1995).

Ogawa Hiromitsu, "Chugoku gaka Mokkei" ("The Chinese Painter Muqi ") in Mokkei, exhibition catalogue (Tokyo: Gotoh Museum, 1995), pl. 14, p. 95.

Barnhart, Fong, Hearn, Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China (Zurich: Museum Ruitberg, 1996), pp. 68, fig. 11.

Ogawa Hiromitsu article in Bijutsushi ronso (Studies in Art History) 13 (1997), pp. 111-23.

Alfreda Murck, Poetry and Painting in Song China: The Subtle Art of Dissent, Harvard Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 50 (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Asia Center for the Harvard-Yenching Institute, 2000).

Princeton University Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections (Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum, 2007), p. 22.

Jiang Feide 姜斐德 (Alfreda Murck), Songdai shi hua zhong de zhengzhi yinqing 宋代诗画中的政治隐情 (Poetry and Painting in Song China: The Subtle Art of Dissent) (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2009), pp. 173-91.