A Lofty Pavilion Artist: Gong Xian (Chinese, 1619–1689)

ca. 1683

Asian Art

Gong Xian is the foremost painter associated with the group known as the Eight Masters of Nanjing. After the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644, Gong went into exile and self-enforced poverty in protest of the dynastic change wrought by the Manchu occupation; in 1664 he returned to Nanjing and eked out a living through painting. In this landscape, the sparse grove suggests the severe political climate for Chinese scholars under the Manchus, and the single pavilion evokes the lofty character of Ni Zan, a fourteenth-century scholar-painter whose life and works had become emblematic of resistance to foreign rule under an earlier foreign dynasty, the Mongol Yuan.


Hanging scroll: ink on paper


without mounting: 65 1/8 × 19 5/8 in. (165.4 × 49.9 cm)
with mounting: 102 5/16 × 26 7/16 in. (259.8 × 67.1 cm)
with rollers: 30 1/4 in. (76.9 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Jeannette Shambaugh Elliott in honor of Professor Richard Barnhart

Accession Number



Qing dynasty (1644–1911)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • David Ake Sensabaugh, The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2004), 35, 44, no. 49, fig. 26.
  • Alexandra Munroe, The Art of Mu Xin: Landscape Painting and Prison Notes, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2001), 26, fig. 9.
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