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Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney | Steams and Mountains Without End: Landscape traditions of China

From the standpoint of splendid scenery, painting cannot equal [real] landscape. But when it comes to the wonders of brush and ink, [real] landscape is no match for painting!
—Dong Qichang (1555–1636)

Exhibition poster

About a thousand years ago, the Chinese landscape painter Guo Xi posed the question, “In what does a gentleman’s love of landscape consist?” This question is at the heart of the exhibition, which explores the many uses of landscape in the Chinese visual arts.

This exhibition, which showcases more than 120 Chinese landscape paintings in three rotations, offers insights into the tradition and reveals distinctions between types of landscape that might not be obvious at first glance. What initially appears to be a simple mountain dwelling, for example, turns out to be the villa of the painter’s friend, encoding a wish for his happy retirement. Similarly, what seems at first to be a simple study in dry brushwork turns out to be an homage to an old master, an expression of reverence for what has come before.

Drawn primarily from The Met’s holdings and supplemented by a dozen private loans, the presentation is augmented by decorative art objects with landscape themes.For more information, please visit the exhibition website.

Michael Cherney, Yue Zhou, Photography, printing and seal carving by Michael Cherney. Chine-collé and scroll mounting by Cao Wucheng in Beijing. Mitsumata washi paper from Japan. Wutong wood box.
Details of Yue Zhou
Michael Cherney, Wangchuan Villa, Ink and color on paper.
Details of Pan Zhi Hua
Michael Cherney, Arnold Chang, Mt. Huang Album
Michael Cherney, Arnold Chang, Mt. Huang Album
Michael Cherney, Arnold Chang, Mt. Huang Album



  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • August 26, 2017 – August 4, 2019
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