In this landscape painting, the text at the upper left is excerpted—like poetic inscriptions on the other two album leaf paintings by An Jae-geon in the Smart Museum collection (see Smart Museum object numbers 1995.80 and 1995.81)—from a compilation of early Chinese poetry called 300 Tang Poems. It reads: There are no wayfarers in the wild frontiers. / From far away, only the sound of a wild goose can be heard in the autumn sky. / Painted with a free brush by Ja-bak [Ja-geon] on the 17th day in the 4th month.
This text and Jae-geon’s illustration bring to mind traditional Chinese motifs called the “Eight Views of the Xiao and Xian Rivers,” in particular “Wild Geese Descending to a Sandbar.” The “Eight Views” celebrate the rustic beauty and solitude of a remote region in China that was favored by scholars working in government posts as a place of retreat and reclusion from the official duties and intrigues of court life