Emperor Taizong Arriving at the Jiucheng Palace

Artist: Formerly attributed to Li Sixun (651-718)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, ca. 1500
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 129.6 x 64.1 cm (51 x 25 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

blue-and-green style, bridge, China, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), palace, water

To 1917
Li Wenqing (late 19th-early 20th century), Shanghai, to 1917 [1]

From 1917 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Li Wenqing, in New York, in 1917 [2]

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


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 1145, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, Voucher No. 18, December 1916.

[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


In 631, Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty (reigned 626–49) ordered the renovation of an earlier summer palace on the slopes of Mount Tiantai, located around one hundred kilometers northwest of the imperial capital at Chang'an (modern Xi'an, Shaanxi Province). The emperor renamed it the Jiucheng Palace (Palace of Nine Perfections), and the following year, he paid the first of five visits to the new construction, staying each time for all or most of the summer and fall. In the painting, Emperor Taizong is the taller of two figures on horseback crossing the bridge in the foreground. Preceding him, other riders pass under a carved archway to join the vanguard of the imperial procession, as a mounted herald races ahead to alert the palace. Pavilions and covered walkways line the water and ascend the slope, poking up here and there through the stylized white clouds. An outside label identifies this scroll as a work by the Tang dynasty court artist Li Sixun, who is credited with originating the meticulous blue-and-green style of landscape painting. As seen here, he often edged the contours of rocks and mountains in gold. Dating to around 1500, or possibly a little later, the current painting is an exquisitely rendered example of the Ming dynasty revival of Li Sixun's style.

Published References
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 252.
  • The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York, 1959-1968. vol. 9, pl. 151.
  • Amos Ih Tiao Chang. The Existence of Intangible Content in Architectonic Form Based upon the Practicality of Laotzu's Philosophy. Princeton. opp. p. 59.
  • Osvald Siren. Gardens of China. New York. pl. 81.
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Paintings in American Collections. Annales du Musee Guimet. Bibliotheque d'art. Nouvelle serie. II Paris and Brussels, 1927-1928. pl. 144.
  • Eleanor Treacy. Ming: Best Known Name in a Little Known Subject, Ming Stands for (1) Superb Ceramics and (2) Dangerous Paintings. Herewith a Ming Handbook. vol. 4, no. 1 New York, July 1931. p. 74.
  • Where the Truth Lies: The Art of Qiu Ying. Exh. cat. Los Angeles and Munich, Germany. p. 78, fig. 15.
  • China: 3,000 Years of Art and Literature. New York. p. 169.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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