what Chinese call a shanshui painting, literally a “mountain and water” image, with looming peaks, hazy clouds, and an ocean that stretches across most of the painting. People or animals usually feature in a shanshui landscape only as tiny brushstrokes, almost accidental ticks of ink dwarfed by the mountains or rivers around them. This is an expression of the idea in Chinese philosophy and art that the environment is far more powerful than any individual. It is never stable and, in its sudden changes from one state to another, more important than the desires of any of us.
Link · 1967