Ma Lin (ca. 1180-1256), whose name appears in the red seal impressed on this painting, was the son of the great academy artist, Ma Yuan (active 1190-1225). Characterized by firm, expert brushwork, the composition and stylistic features of this painting place it clearly within the classical tradition of court painting that flourished in Hangchou from the 12th to the early 15th century. The Ma family was then a leading proponent of the so-called Southern Sung (1127-1279) landscape style and a series of court appointments kept members of the family in positions of artistic influence for over 300 years. The Taoist theme depicted here, of a lone scholar viewing the sunrise is standard Southern Sung subject matter. He reclines on a riverbank with bronze ritual implements arranged in front of him probably in preparation for ritual incense burning. The Taoist philosophy, with its emphasis on nature, was fundamental to the early development of landscape painting and nature poetry in China.