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Composed in the popular “one-corner, half-sided” (yijiao banbian) compositional style of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279), this painting depicts Su Shi (1037–1101) and his companions viewing the Red Cliffs by boat in a manner similar to a close-up shot photograph. The artist exerted great effort in portraying the details of the waves in a combination of the period’s popular Red Cliffs theme and “water scene” (shuitu) paintings. Extant works of the same theme include two other paintings, which, along with this featured piece, appear to have been sourced from the same draft. However, the three works have slight variations in certain details. The other two are housed at the Taipei Palace Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri in the United States.
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu