Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Dong Shouping, Chinese (1904 - 1997)
Colors of Mount Emei (Emeishan se)
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
1961 (xinchou year)
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Hanging scroll; ink and colors on paper; with signature reading "Dong Shouping" and artist's seal reading "Shouping"
painting proper: H. 40.2 x W. 65.3 cm (15 13/16 x 25 11/16 in.)
mounting, with cord and roller ends: H. 162.6 x W. 87.9 cm (64 x 34 5/8 in.)
mounting, silk only: H. 156.2 x W. 82.1 cm (61 1/2 x 32 5/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Xinchou nian Dong Shouping (The xinchou year [1961], Dong Shouping)
  • signature: brush written in ink in three columns of Chinese characters "Emeishan se" (Colors of Mt. Emei), "Xinchounian" (Xinchou year = 1961), and "Dong Shouping"Artist's title, date, and signature; upper right corner - Artist's title, date, and signature; upper right corner
  • seal: Artist's seal; following signature: square, red, relief seal reading "Shou Ping"
Edmund Lin (1928-2006; Professor, Harvard Medical School), Boston; by bequest to the Harvard Art Museum
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Edmund Chi Chien Lin
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Dong Shouping (1904-1997) painted this short hanging scroll in ink and colors on paper. It depicts Mt. Emei's famous and very colorful sunrise. Diagonally set masses of rocks lead to the peak--presumably the Mt. Emei's summit--at the top center of the composition. Tall pines at the bottom center of the composition direct the viewer's eye to the summit and to the lone, simple house with orange walls and pale gray roof that sits atop the peak. The mountain slopes downward at the right, leaving open sky as well as space for the artist's inscription, signature, and seal. Because Mt. Emei is famous for its colorful sunrise, the artist has employed a warm orange as the painting's dominant color. The painting was mounted in Japan and thus boasts a traditional Japanese mounting with free-moving futai ornaments.

The artist, Dong Shouping (1904-1997), was born in Hongdong, Shanxi province, in 1904. He received a BA in economics from Eastern University, Beijing, in 1926, after which he began to paint by studying masterworks of traditional painting on display in the then newly established National Palace Museum, Beijing. By the early 1930s he had become well-known as a connoisseur of Chinese painting and as a professional painter of birds and flowers; at that time he began to hone his skills as a landscape painter. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45, i.e., World War II), Dong Shouping lived in Chengdu, Sichuan province; in order to broaden his skill as a landscape painter, he traveled as widely as circumstances permitted, taking in as many varied landscape types as he could. It was during these years that he came to know and love Mt. Emei. After both the Sino-Japanese and Chinese Civil wars had ended, Dong Shouping took up residence in Beijing. In 1953 he joined Rongbaozhai Art Publishing House, Beijing, as a specialist in woodblock printing; he worked there until 1965, where he retired. He served as honorary chairman of the Beijing Society for the Research of Traditional Chinese Paintings, and he was a member of the Chinese Artists' Association.

Mount Emei sits at the western rim of the Sichuan Basin; at 3,099 meters (10,167 ft), it is the highest of China's Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains. The "patron saint" of Mt. Emei is the Buddhist Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, known in Chinese as Puxian Pu. Mt. Emei was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Mt. Emei enjoys a special reverence in the minds of traditional Chinese as it is the location of the first Buddhist temple built in China in the first century CE. The site boasts seventy-six Buddhist monasteries dating to the Ming and Qing periods, most of them located near the mountain's top.
Mt. Emei is famous for its colorful spectacles, which include the sunrise and the Clouds Sea both of which are best seen from the mountain's Golden Summit and both of which have been considered famous natural wonders for centuries. The sunrise is varied, but optimally begins with the ground and sky being in the same dark purple, soon showing rosy clouds, followed by a bright purple arc and then a semicircle where the sun is coming up. The Clouds Sea includes several cloud phenomena, e.g. clouds appearing in the sky above, in addition to the regular clouds beneath.

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at