The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) marked the return of native rule over all of the Chinese empire after two centuries of foreign domination. Located in Beijing, the Ming court sought to revive China's cultural supremacy in East Asia, and therefore became an important supporter of professional artists. Court artists worked in a variety of genres. Among the objects on display are a painting of Geese and Reeds by the court-painter Lin Liang and a work of calligraphy by the high-ranking official Zhang Ruitu.
Professional and literati artists working in an array of styles also flourished during the dynasty's nearly 300-year span. In southeast China's Zhejiang province, Xu Wei painted birds and flowers with bold original brushwork and distinctive splashed ink. Suzhou, a wealthy city in the southeastern province of Jiangsu that boasted a significant number of merchant families and gentry who supported literature, music, theater, calligraphy and painting, was a leading producer of textiles, handicrafts and luxury goods. Among the highlights of Wind in the Mountains are works by artists of the Wu School (Wu was the ancient name of Suzhou). Also featured in this focused exhibition, featuring works from the Museum's permanent collections, are pairs of Ming period chairs.
Wind in the Mountains complements The Arts of Hon'ami Koetsu, Japanese Renaissance Master (on view from July 29 to October 29, 2000), an exhibition of more than 100 objects, ranging from calligraphy and printed books to ceramics and lacquerwork, drawn from collections throughout Japan, Europe, and the United States.