Since its creation in the 12th century, “A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains,” has been regarded as a masterpiece of traditional Chinese painting. Measuring 51.5 by 1,191.5 cm, this painting is the only existing work from Wang Ximeng (1096-1119).
According to historical records, Wang joined the Imperial Painting Academy as an intern when he was in his early teens. During his internship, Emperor Huizong, himself a talented calligrapher and painter, discovered the boy’s amazing talent and personally took charge of his education as a painter.
By the time he was 18; Wang had already mastered all the latest painting techniques and started to develop his own style. In 1113, over a period of six months, he devoted himself to the extensive landscape work for which he is remembered.
Unfortunately, at the age of 23, Wang died and became one of the celebrated artist who died before their time. His life was shorter than his Western counterparts, Masaccio, who died at the age of 27.
With exquisite brushwork and bright colors, the picture has many obvious visual attractions. Its harmonious composition is seen as a symbol of the state’s well-being at the time of its making.