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Whispering Pines on a Mountain Path 

Tang Yin (唐寅, 1470–1524), Ming Dynasty (1368–1644)

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk, 194.5 x 102.8 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       Mountains rise precipitously one above the other as a waterfall cascades down in levels to the foreground, splashing into the water there. Old pines with vines intertwine on the rocks. A lofty scholar with a staff on the bridge looks up and listens to the wind in pines and to the water, representing the artist’s elegant sentiment lodging in the landscape. The outlines of the rocks were rendered with a centered brush, while “axe-cut” texture strokes were elongated into snapped lines, the brushwork spirited and flowing. The monumental landscape composition is dense and follows the style of the Southern Song artist Li Tang (李唐), making this a representative work from the mature phase of Tang Yin’s career.

       Tang Yin’s signature indicates this painting was done for Li Jing (李經), the Prefect of Wu County. Li paid special attention to scholars in the area during his three years as prefect and was promoted to Secretary in the Ministry of Revenue at the capital in 1517. Since Tang Yin’s private dwelling, the Plum Blossom Studio was located within the jurisdiction of Wu, this work was probably done as a departing gift for Li Jing before he traveled to the capital.