Gong Xian

Series: The Royal Collection of Imperial China

Detail of the handscroll

Artist: Gong Xian
Period: Qing Dynasty (1616–1912)
Medium: Handscroll
Dimensions: 802 × 22 cm
Price: $699.95
ISBN: 978-1-4878-0182-3
(Collected by the Nanjing Museum)


Ink and wash on paper; length 28 cm, width 980 cm

This painting depicts layers of magnificent mountains, with ridges, hills, trees, bushes, creeks, autumn forests, fishing boats, cottages, clear rivers, reefs, ferries, and empty boats, all exquisitely painted in great detail, presenting an image of quiet retreat and silent bleakness. His painting style is plain and rich in ink work.


Gong Xian (1618–1689) was a renowned painter of the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties, and one of the Great Painters of Jinling. Known by aliases including Qixian, Banqian, Banmu, Yeyi, Zhaizhangren, and the Wild Old Man of Zhongshan, he hailed from Kunshan in Jiangsu Province, although he was a regular resident of Jinling (present day Nanjing). In his early years, he was active in the literary association Fushe, traveling a good deal during the turbulent period at the end of the Ming Dynasty. From the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, he lived the life of a recluse and was named one of the Eight Great Painters of Jinling, along with other local painters Fan Qi, Gao Cen, Zou Zhe, Wu Hong, Ye Xin, Hu Zao, and Xie Sun. He was a skilled landscape painter, following the style of Dong Yuan and Wu Zhen. He focused on sketches of nature, using ink to present a sense of layering to form a style of his own.