A chinese painting is always less descriptive and more metaphorical. Here the creative act is not limited to exact imitation of nature. It’s innovative linear and formal abstraction is used to connote the exact essence of the theme. The present example, a hanging scroll, done with ink and color on paper, is painted in 1660, by Kuncan (1612—c.1673) and is a perfect example of the symbology practised by these logician painters.
In the seventeenth century several Buddhist monks emerged as masterful and inventive painters. His paintings display uninhibited brushwork, quantities of ink, quirky, dynamic compositions and recondite content.
Man’s presence is thus diminished like an ant in comparision to the magnitude of hills, thus reflecting his monastic thoughts. The rising movement of hills and trees drawn sketchily yet retaining the character is met by the downward flow of Chinese script (which is an intrinsic part of Chinese art). The writing seems like rain much in consonance with the subject of this work. Unlike a western artist, Kuncan has not split the earth bound elements from the ether. The regular depiction would be of a sky separated from hills or land something what the children draw with a typical setting of triangles set firmly on their flat base to the ground. But that is abstraction of, even if it is mostly ‘realistically’ finished. In nature we can face anything on the undulating curves of hills that would sometime appear higher than the clouds. So, here we see the left corner filled intricately right to the top with hills, foliage and huts. A very subtle presence of a distant hill is achieved through a smoggy outline, a true watercolour effect.
The pristine delicacy and charm rendered in this work at once gives the feel of solemnity experienced in the lap of hills.