Nine Dragons (painting)
|Type||Ink and color on Xuan paper|
|Dimensions||46.3 cm × 1096.4 cm (18.2 in × 431.7 in)|
|Location||Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston|
Nine Dragons is a handscroll painting by Chinese artist Chen Rong from 1244. Depicting the apparitions of dragons soaring amidst clouds, mists, whirlpools, rocky mountains and fire, the painting refers to the dynamic forces of nature in Daoism. The depicted dragons are associated with nine sons of the Dragon King, while the number nine itself is considered auspicious in Chinese astrology and folk beliefs.
The painting, containing multiple inscriptions and stamps, begins on the right side and ends on the left. The left side features various colophons, including those by Zhang Sicheng and Dong Sixue, a Song Dynasty official. Two inscriptions on the painting were made by the artist's own hand. The dating is based on one of them. According to the inscription placed at the end of the painting, the work was inspired by two other paintings, Cao Ba's Nine Horses and Nine Deers, attributed to Huichong. A later inscription by Emperor Qianlong says that besides praising Chen Rong’s painting, Qianlong ordered a court painter to make a copy of it. Qianlong also impressed several seals on the original painting, whose text appreciate the work.