Wu Bin: Pine Lodge amid Tall Mountains

Wu Bin: Pine Lodge amid Tall Mountains (c. 1590-91). Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

As I continue to read Thomas Christensen’s 1616: The World in Motion, I will occasionally post a painting featured in the book. Abu al-Hasan’s Squirrels in a Plane Tree was another such work. Of the painting by Wu Bin, Christensen writes (p. 182-184), “Wu’s contorted mountainscapes are like the spires of Western gothic cathedrals, stretching skyward out of spiritual yearning. Perhaps because of the sheer power of supernatural presence contained in them, the landscapes can appear dangerous or threatening. Yet boats sail serenely under the towering peaks, and mountain residents go about their business without apparent concern for their perilous situation.”

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