Scenic Attractions of West Lake

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Artist: Formerly attributed to Li Song (傳)李嵩 (late 12th-early 13th century)
Historical period(s)
Late Yuan or early Ming dynasty, 14th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (painting): 32.9 x 1581.1 cm (12 15/16 x 622 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 15: Setting the Bar: Arts of the Song Dynasty


birds-eye view, boat, China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), water, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)

To 1911
Cheng Kuan, China, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Cheng Kuan, 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. 753, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. 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)

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


This painting illustrates the shore of the famed West Lake in the Southern Song (1127-1279) capital Lin'an (modern Hangzhou), which Marco Polo (ca. 1254-1324) once visited and appropriately described as follows:

"The lake is provided with a great number of boats or barges, big and small, in which people take pleasure-trips…. They are roofed over with decks on which stand men with poles, which they thrust into the bottom of the lake, and thus propel the barges where they are bidden…. And indeed a voyage on this lake offers more refreshment and delectation than any other experience on earth."

Translation from Robert Latham, The Travels of Marco Polo (New York: Penguin Books, 1958).

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Xiaolin Duan. The Rise of West Lake: A Cultural Landmark in the Song Dynasty. Washington, 2020. Cover, p. 39, 42, 44, and 85, figs. 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, and 3.1.
  • "巨大遺跡 第1集 密林に消えた謎の大都市 ~カンボジア アンコール遺跡群~." Ring of Civilisations: Rediscovering Ancient Asia. NHKスペシャル アジア, DVD and Blu-Ray. Japan. .
  • 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. 5 (1983): pl. 5.
  • Russell Freedman. The Adventures of Marco Polo., 1st ed. New York. p. 42.
  • Sherman Lee, Wai-Kam Ho. Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368. Exh. cat. Cleveland. p. 86, fig. 15.
  • Geoffrey Parker. The World: An Illustrated History. London. p. 208.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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