Nine Dragons

Full Title: 
九龍圖卷; Nine Dragons
Ink and touches of red on paper
ink wash
46.3 cm (height) x 1096.4 cm (height)
This long handscroll depicts, as indicated by the title, nine dragons, which appear among clouds, waves, wind, and cliffs, executed in monochrome ink on paper with some subtle touches of red color. According to the artist's poem and inscription written at the end of the painting, this work was inspired by a painting Nine Horses by the 8th century painter Can Ba and a Nine Deer attributed to Huichong. Chen Rong's poem recounts how he was able to paint the dragons while he was in an intoxicated state of mind. The creative process recorded in both text and image reflect certain mind-altering experiences and insights long associated with Daoist transcendental practices.
The painting carries two inscriptions by the artist's own hand. According to the first inscription, the scroll can be dated to 1244.
Repository Accession Number: 
Francis Gardner Curtis Fund
Description Source: 
Wu Tung. Tales from the Land of Dragons 1,000 Years of Chinese Painting. Massachusetts: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1997.
Scrolls Project ID: 
728 347