The Wangchuan Villa

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Artist: Traditionally attributed to Guo Zhongshu (傳)郭忠恕 (910-977)
Historical period(s)
Ming or Qing dynasty, 17th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (overall): 30.8 x 438 cm (12 1/8 x 172 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), Wangchuan Villa

To 1911
Yen Wat-sai, China, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yen Wat-sai, in China, in 1911 [2]

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


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 747, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Note that the Accession List, Collections Management office, records the dealer’s name as Wen Yat-sai, rather than Yen Wat-sai. 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)

Yen Wat-sai (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Wangchuan Villa was the famous garden estate of the poet-painter Wang Wei (ca. 699-ca.761), who acquired the property around 740. Wang wrote twenty quatrains describing points of interest in the garden, and he illustrated the poetic mood of each site in a painting that ultimately became one of the most revered landscape scrolls in Chinese history. The composition provides a journey through a spectacular garden filled with sites designed to encourage quiet contemplation and at the same time suitable for entertaining visitors.

The composition of the Wangchuan Villa has been preserved in generations of copies; this version is a standard copy of what Wang Wei's original painting was believed to look like. Names of the special scenic features of the garden are written above each scene, including Hollow at Meng's Wall, Bamboo Hill, Magnolia Park, and White Stone Shallows.

That Wang Wei was a famous poet and painter as well as a garden designer helped inspire the Chinese view that these three deeply resonant arts can each serve equally well as expressions of a person's mind and personality.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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