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Celebrating Rain in a Village

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: Ink on paper
Artist(s): Wu Li (1632–1718)

Dimensions: 30.6 × 256 cm

Although the year of painting is not indicated, this work by Wu Li (1632–1718) is listed in Record of Famous Paintings of the Xu Studio (Xuzhai minghua lu), and Wu’s annotations on the painting provide clues as to the date. During the artist’s later years, an intercalary seventh lunar month was added only in the years 1699 and 1710, both during the Kangxi reign (1662–1722). Weather records show how the area of Suzhou received timely rain in the early autumn of 1699, which is consistent with Wu’s inscription. Hence, the work is assumed to have been painted that year. At the time, Wu was sixty-nine and engaged in missionary work at Jiading.

The piece is characterized by refined yet plain strokes. As a masterpiece of his later years, it includes techniques of Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) artists. The composition is similar to those of his master, Huang Gongwang (1269–1354). The mountains and rocks reflect the texture-shading technique of Wang Meng (1308–1385), and the trees echo those of Wu Zhen (1280–1354).

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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