Seven Scholars Going through the Pass

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Artist: Formerly attributed to Li Tang 李唐 (ca. 1050s-after 1130)
Calligrapher: Frontispiece by Cheng Nanyun (ca. 1400-ca. 1450)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early 15th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 25.7 x 170 cm (10 1/8 x 66 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, horse, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), mule, ox, scholar, travel

To 1916
Li Wenqing (late 19th-early 20th century), Shanghai, to 1916 [1]

From 1916 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Li Wenqing, 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. 1029, 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
Li Wenqing (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1869-1931


Accompanied by a small group of retainers on foot, seven gentlemen riding mules, horses, and an ox leave behind the gate of a pass and casually proceed along a wintry riverbank. Six of the men are dressed against the cold in identical white robes and wide-brimmed hats worn over dark shoulder-length hoods, while the seventh is clad in gray and wears an official's black cap. Some of the men turn to talk with each other, gesturing with their whips, but there is no urgency in their manner. The bundles of scrolls, umbrellas, and food utensils carried by the retainers--together with the ubiquitous wrapped qin (zither)--suggest that the group is venturing forth on a daytrip to some nearby scenic location.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. "画中人 上海书画出版社." Chinese Figure Painting. Shanghai, China. .
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: pp. 222-223.
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 10, pp. 40-41.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 11, pp. 74-76.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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