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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Hsia I-fu (Xia Yifu) 夏一夫, Chinese (Shandong province, China 1925 - 2016)
High Mountains and Magnificent Peaks
Work Type
painting, album folio
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2600, East Asian Art, East Asian Painting and Decorative Arts
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Physical Descriptions

Accordion-fold album of eight center-folded leaves, seven of them painted; ink on paper, with artist’s dedication, signature, and seal
overall: 31.7 x 380 cm (12 1/2 x 149 5/8 in.)
each leaf: 31.7 x 47.5 cm (12 1/2 x 18 11/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Last leaf, left, black ink: Painted by Yifu in a small house in Yonghe in late autumn 1990 (Chinese brush-written characters followed by a red seal reading "Yifu")
  • inscription: brush-written on last leaf, translates as follows: "Asking Professor Chu-tsing for his comment. Painted by Yifu in a small house in Yonghe in late autumn 1993"
  • seal: artist's seal: Square red relief seal, following signature on last leaf: "Yifu"


Recorded Ownership History
Xia Yifu, Taiwan, 1990, gift; to Chu-tsing Li, Lawrence, Kansas (1964-2012), gift; to his son B U.K. Li, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (2012-2015), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2015.

1. Dr. Chu-tsing Li (1920-2014)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Chu-tsing Li Collection, Gift of B U.K. Li in memory of Chu-tsing Li, Yao-wen Kwang Li, and Teri Ho Li
© Xia Yifu (Hsia I-fu)
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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The horizontal format of this album allows the viewer physically to unfold an intricate vista that begins at the right with gentle hills and mist, builds toward a crescendo of towering peaks and scraggy trees, and concludes quietly with a flock of birds retreating into the distance. The musical rhythm of the composition is accented by repeating trees in positive and negative tones and distant shadows beyond the tall peaks. The otherworldly beauty of the scene recalls the Daoist lands of the immortals depicted by Wu Bin (active 1591–1643), in which fantasy and reality coalesce in a strange yet alluringly harmonic world. The close-up view of the mountains in this painting reveals the dry brushwork and “scorched ink” that have become Xia Yifu’s characteristic techniques.
Despite the artist’s limited formal academic training in painting and calligraphy, his works display an air of elegance that reflects a classic aesthetic vision. In the words of Chu-tsing Li, “his rocks and mountains become symbols of human integrity and moral dignity [and] his trees and plants are depicted with such freshness and ingenuity that they seem like newly created objects.”

Publication History

  • Robert D. Mowry and Claudia Brown, A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums/Yale University Press (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), cat. 38

Exhibition History

  • A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 11/03/2007 - 01/27/2008; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, 06/28/2008 - 09/14/2008; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, 10/11/2008 - 01/04/2009; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, 02/11/2009 - 05/24/2009
  • 32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/04/2023 - 12/03/2023

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at