The Wang River Estate

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Artist: Attributed to Song Xu (1525-ca. 1606) Formerly attributed to Wang Meng 王蒙 (ca. 1308-1385)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1570s
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 30 x 1075.6 cm (11 13/16 x 423 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, garden, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Wang Wei, Wangchuan Villa

To 1909
An unnamed Mandarin owner, to 1909 [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from an unnamed Mandarin owner, through Riu Cheng Chai, Beijing, in 1909 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 666, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, Accession List, Collections Management office. This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Riu Cheng Chai (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Located in the foothills south of the imperial capital at Chang'an (modern Xi'an), Wang River Estate was the country retreat of the court official Wang Wei (701-761), a renowned Tang dynasty poet and painter. Wang once painted twenty of his favorite locations on the property and composed an accompanying series of short poems. While the estate encompassed many wild areas and was not a garden in the conventional sense, Wang's famous depiction inspired later generations to incorporate similar combinations of water and land, mountain and valley, and cultivated and uncultivated into their garden architecture. This long handscroll painting is an imaginative re-creation of Wang's composition.

Published References
  • Nakata Yujiro, Fu Shen. O-bei shuzo Chugoku hosho meiseki shu [Masterpieces of Chinese Calligraphy in American and European Collections]. 6 vols., Tokyo, 1981-1983. vol. 6: pls. 12-15.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: pp. 192-193.
  • Thomas Lawton, Linda Merrill. Freer: a legacy of art. Washington and New York, 1993. p. 86, fig. 59.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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