Landscape and Portrait of Hong Zhengzhi (1674-1731)

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Artist: Shitao (1642-1707) Jiang (active early 18th century)
Sitter: Hong Zhengzhi (1674-1731)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Winter, 1706
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 36 x 175.8 cm (14 3/16 x 69 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, landscape, portrait, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), waterfall, WWII-era provenance

Zhang Daqian (1899-1983). [1]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York. [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, New York. [3]


[1] See object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Zhang Daqian China, 1899-1983
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987


This painting results from collaboration between the famous painter known as Shitao and a minor portrait specialist identified by his surname, Jiang. It was not unusual for portraitists to work with other artists to create lyrical likenesses, since very few landscape painters possessed the training or skill to use color to render a lifelike face. Generally, the non-figural aspects of the painting were the most highly valued artistic contribution.

Here, the inscription just to the right of the figure and mountain was written by Shitao and explains the circumstances of the work's creation. He wrote that an artist surnamed Jiang painted a convincing portrait of Hong Zhengzhi, who was Shitao's friend and pupil. To complete the image of Hong, who is pictured from the knees up, Shitao created a mist-filled landscape that makes Hong seem to stand in, or levitate above, the clouds and mountain pines. Shitao deliberately distorted the scale of the figure in relation to the landscape to dramatize Hong's lofty personality. The unrealistic proportion suggests that these hills and valleys are not actual scenery but, instead, represent the thoughts that fill Hong Zhengzhi. It was common to describe a superior man as one who embodied these landscape elements in his heart and mind.

The bold calligraphic frontispiece is by the artist Chang Da-chien (also spelled Zhang Daqian; 1899-1983), who was one of the twentieth century's greatest Chinese artists. Chang was also a major collector of Shitao's paintings, which deeply influenced his own work. The colophons include several eulogies to Hong Zhengzhi, written by eighteenth-century calligraphers.

Published References
  • Jonathan Hay. Shitao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China., reprint. Taibei shi. .
  • Richard Edwards. The Paintings of Tao-chi 1641-ca 1720: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at the Museum of Art, University of Michigan, August 13-September 17, 1967. Exh. cat. Ann Arbor. p. 16, fig. 35.
  • Fu Shen, Jan Stuart. Challenging the Past: The Paintings of Chang Dai-Chien. Exh. cat. Washington and Seattle. p. 231, fig. 107.
  • Marilyn Fu, Fu Shen. Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Paintings from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in New York, Princeton, and Washington, D.C., 3rd ed. Princeton, 1973. pp. 284-293.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 205, p. 309.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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