To attract patrons in eighteenth-century Yangzhou, an ancient city made newly wealthy by the salt trade, a painter had to be eccentric, coming up with startling images or, resorting to performance art, painting wildly after imbibing cups of wine. Salt merchants desiring to emulate the scholar class had painters record their poetry, connoisseurship, or wine gatherings in intimate, close-up paintings. By contrast, the classic, expansive Chinese landscape became the province of court painters. In such a context, Yuan Jiang (active 1690s–after 1743), a landscape painter who patterned himself after Song dynasty (960–1278) artists, easily found favor with the Manchu court. He was known for his jie hua (ruled paintings)-renderings of architecture set into elaborate landscapes that stretched into the deepest distance and reached to the highest peaks. In the work pictured here, painted in 1719 before he was employed at court, Yuan Jiang defined convoluted, rocky ledges with a nervous line, filling areas with shaded wash. The studio retreat half-hidden on the mountainside overlooks a peaceful scene with a lake and a herd of goats, perhaps implying perfect happiness in retirement from the dusty world.