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overall: Pavilion of Rising Clouds detail: Pavilion of Rising Clouds

Pavilion of Rising Clouds 雲起樓圖

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)
Artist: Traditionally attributed to Mi Fu (傳)米芾 (1052-1107)
Historical period(s)
Southern Song-Yuan dynasty, mid-13th to mid-14th century
Ink on silk
150.0 x 78.8 cm
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
This unsigned scroll was traditionally attributed to the Northern Song dynasty artist Mi Fu. While no longer accepted as a genuine work by his hand, it remains the earliest of the extant large paintings done in the widely imitated style associated with his name. In the Mi style, landscape forms are defined by a distinctive use of layered washes and precisely applied horizontal dots, instead of the usual outlines and texture strokes, to create a subtle illusion of varying depths and densities.

The short quotation from Confucius inscribed at the top of the painting was ostensibly written by Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty (reigned 1100–25), in whose court Mi Fu once served: "[Before] heaven sends down the seasonal rains, mountains and rivers put forth clouds." The passage metaphorically defines the relationship between the benevolent rule of a sage king and the prior appearance of wise ministers to advise him. The quotation therefore adds a philosophical dimension to the work and was aptly selected both to describe the misty landscape of the painting and to laud Mi Fu as a valued servant of the throne.

The painting was also greatly admired by an illustrious previous owner, the Ming dynasty painter, calligrapher and art historian Dong Qichang (1555–1636), who provided a title calligraphy at the top and colophons on either side.

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

To 1908
Isaac Taylor Headland (1859-1942), Beijing, China, and Alliance, OH, to 1908 [1]

From 1908 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Isaac Taylor Headland in 1908 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 611, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
C.L. Freer source: Isaac Taylor Headland (1859-1942)
On View Location
Currently not on view
China, cloud, cursive script, landscape, mountain, Song dynasty (960 - 1279)
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy, Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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