Hanging scroll: ink and color on silk
h 73 x w 44 -1/4 inches
Although the major trends in Yüan period painting were taking a radical departure from the Academy styles of Hangchou, a small
group of painters continued the elegant and idealized depictions of real nature seen in Southern Sung painting. Sun Chün-tse
was one who pursued this Ma-Hsia tradition, often, as here, on a larger scale. Little is known of his life, only that he was
from Hangchou, which was perhaps the greatest influence in his following the earlier styles from the academy of painting that
had been centered there.
"The signature, in the lower left corner, deliberately obscured by a brushstroke of ink but readable under strong light, matches
those on several works by this artist that were preserved in Japan. This [painting was] misrepresented, the signature painted
over and a label saying it's a Sung work, certainly by Ma Yüan (active 1190-1230). It was hanging in our living room in Berkeley
when I went off to the Cleveland Museum of Art for a symposium accompanying an exhibition of Yüan period art. I gave a paper
in which I argued that Yüan continuations of Sung traditions also had to be included in our histories of Yüan painting, showing,
for instance, what Yüan paintings in the Ma Yüan style look like. Coming home and looking [again at the painting] I realized
that according to my own paper, this must be a Yüan painting; and examining it closely I found the Sun Chün-tse signature.
So, suddenly it rose from a painting nobody noticed to a world-class masterpiece, all because of a discovered signature."