Snowscape after Guo Xi

Artist: Li Yin 李寅 (active 1694-1710)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1702
Ink on silk
H x W (image): 155.4 x 70.9 cm (61 3/16 x 27 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

China, mountain, pine tree, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), snow, temple, water, winter

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. 1261, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, LVC Catalogue, 1915, No. 25. 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


Li Yin was a successful commercial artist who worked primarily in his native Yangzhou. His inscription on this scroll provides a unique insight into his life as a professional painter:

To beat the heat, I humbly beg a swig of Yuan Shao's wine,
To cool things off, I visualize the skin of a white dragon.
Snow lies helter-skelter on this five-foot length of icy silk,
As I put the brush aside, my gauzy shirt hides goosebumps.

"Half the paintings by Guo Xi [circa 1001-1090] that I have seen are real and half are counterfeit. When I come across a real one, I study the real thing, and when I come across a counterfeit, I study the counterfeit as well. . . . In fact, everyone who appreciates my work considers me a true Heyang [Guo Xi], and I have always thought myself a true Heyang as well. Because of this, people compete to offer me gold and money for my work, afraid to be too late. At such times I always feel a little self-doubt, but as for this scroll now, I have no doubts at all."

Translations by Stephen D. Allee

Published References
  • James Cahill. Yuan Chiang and His School: Part I and II. vols. 5-6 Washington and Ann Arbor, 1963 - 1966. vol. 5: pp. 259-272, pl. 14.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 189.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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