Traveling at Dawn in the Snowy Foothills

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Artist: Attributed to Fan Qi 樊圻 (1616-ca. 1695) Formerly attributed to Li Cheng 李成 (919-967)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 17th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 30.8 x 228.2 cm (12 1/8 x 89 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


blue-and-green style, bridge, China, landscape, mountain, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), snow, water, winter

To 1916
Wang Jiantang, Shanghai to 1916 [1]

From 1916 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Wang Jiantang, in New York, in 1916 [2]

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


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 1000, 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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Wang Jiantang (C.L. Freer source) late 19th-early 20th century


At right, a peasant with a load of firewood trudges across a low bridge in the direction of a private, walled estate, which is built on the river at the foot of a steep slope. Admiring the winter scene, two men engage in conversation in an upstairs window of the main building. Stretching off into high mountains, a nearby valley contains other structures, including an idle fishing rig with its net in the water. While snowscapes inherently lend themselves to visual drama in their use of contrasting colors and textures, the mood of this painting is still and serene. Architectural elements are crisply realized and skillfully set off against the softening effects of the snow and the light blue-and-green palette.

Although this scroll bears the spurious signature of Li Cheng (919-967), a famous painter of the Five Dynasties period (907-960), the coloring and overall execution of the work, such as the modeling of the rocks and slopes, suggest an artist of the seventeenth-century Nanjing School of painters, and may possibly be a work by the renowned landscapist Fan Qi. Whatever the case, the original artist's signature was cut off at some time and replaced by an unscrupulous individual who wished to attribute the scroll to an earlier era.

Published References
  • James Cahill. Yuan Chiang and His School: Part I and II. vols. 5-6 Washington and Ann Arbor, 1963 - 1966. vol. 5: opp. p. 272, pl. 4.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: pp. 200-201.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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