The Thatched Hut of Dreaming of an Immortal

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Artist: Tang Yin 唐寅 (1470-1524)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early 16th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 28.3 × 103 cm (11 1/8 × 40 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, Daoism, Daoist Immortals, dreaming, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), sleeping
Provenance research underway.

A brilliant youth, Tang Yin achieved first place in the provincial examinations that he hoped would open a career for him as an official, but scandal ruined his chances.  He instead became a professional painter who received commissions from his scholar friends. This handscroll was requested by Tang's contemporary Wang Dongyuan, who followed Daoist practices meant to encourage longevity.  After a prophetic dream in which Wang Dongyuan saw an immortal approaching him, Wang named his garden "Dreaming of an Immortal."  It was common in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) for a garden proprietor to take the name of his garden, or a site within it, as a sobriquet, or secondary name. Thus, the painting is a "double image" that refers to Wang Dongyuan as a sleeping figure and, by extension, through the garden property itself.  Tang Yin creatively captured the meaning of the garden's name by portraying Wang asleep with the dreamy emanation of an immortal floating in the sky.

Published References
  • George Du Bois. Understanding China: Dangerous Resentments. .
  • The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse. Cover.
  • Nicole Vandier-Nicolas. Chinese Painting: Expression of a Civilization. New York. fig. 158.
  • Mary Tregear. Chinese Art. London. .
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1 (1982 ed.): pp. 206-207.
  • Hugo Munsterberg. The Landscape Painting of China and Japan., 1st ed. Rutland, Vermont. pl. 61.
  • Hai wai i chen [Chinese Art in Overseas Collections]. Taipei, 1985. vol. 1, no. 122.
  • Chiang Chao-shen. T'ang Yin's Calligraphy and Painting. vol. 3, no. 3 Taipei, July 1968/January 1969. pl. 11.
  • Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 17.
  • Hans Holländer. "Europas chinesische Träume: Die Erfindung Chinas in der europäischen Literatur." Europe's Chinese Dreams: The Invention of China in European Literature. Wolkersdorf, Austria. pp. 44-45 and Cover.
  • Katharine P. Burnett. Shaping Chinese Art History: Pang Yuanji and His Painting Collection. Cambria Sinophone World Series Amherst, New York, September 28, 2020. 46.
  • Simonetta De Vries. Recent Oriental Acquisitions by Museums. vol. 12, no. 2 New York, February 1940. p. 50.
  • Suzuki Kei. Sansuiga : Chugoku [Landscape Painting: China]. Tokyo. p. 54, fig. 93a.
  • Wai-yee Li. Dream Visions of Transcendence in Chinese Literature and Painting. vol. 3, no. 4 New York, Fall 1990. pp. 54-55, cover.
  • Jacques Dars. Au gre d'humeurs oisives: Les Carnets Secrets de Li Yu, Un Art du Bonheur en Chine. Arles. p. 66.
  • Charles Patrick Fitzgerald. The Horizon History of China. New York. p. 71.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 80-81.
  • Ulrike Kasper. Ecrire sur L'eau: L'esthetique de John Cage. Paris. p. 124.
  • "明画全集." Complete works of Ming Dynasty. vol. 6, Hangzhou, China. pp. 136-147, fig. 18.
  • James Cahill. Chinese Painting. Treasures of Asia Geneva and Cleveland. p. 139.
  • Nathan Sivin. Chinese Alchemy: Preliminary Studies. Harvard monographs in the history of science Cambridge, Massachusetts. p. 146.
  • Arthur Waley, (Introduction) Frances Wood. Tao Te Ching: The Way and Its Power and Its Place in Chinese Thought. London. pp. 160-161.
  • Anne de Coursey Clapp. The Painting of T'ang Yin. Chicago. pp.190-96, cover.
  • Louis Komjathy. Introducing Contemplative Studies. Oxford, United Kingdom. p. 209, fig. 6.1.
  • Wendy Frey, Bert Bower, Jim Lobdell. History Alive!: The Ancient World. Palo Alto. p. 211.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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