Mu Xi

Series: The Royal Collection of Imperial China

Detail of the handscroll

Artist: Mu Xi
Period: Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279)
Medium: Handscroll
Dimensions: 430 × 22 cm
Price: $399.95
ISBN: 978-1-4878-0172-4
(Collected by the Palace Museum)


Ink on paper; length 47.5 cm, width 814 cm

The paintings of Mu Xi depict daily life in ordinary times, but reveal deeper themes. The flowers, fruit, birds, fish, shrimp, and plants in this scroll are drawn with simple and plain ink lines, and the items are placed casually within the frame. The density of the color in this scroll, the intricacy of the composition, and the magical changes reflect Zen sensibilities.


Mu Xi (1207–c. 1291), known in Buddhist circles as Fachang, was born in Shu (present day Sichuan) and became a painter of the Southern Song Dynasty. He excelled at dragons, tigers, monkeys, cranes, wild geese, landscapes, and figures, imitating Liang Kai but developing and changing his style. Mu’s paintings of monkeys, cranes, Guanyin, and Buddhist saints are rigorously and accurately shaped.