Consort Yang Mounting a Horse

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Artist: Traditionally attributed to Qian Xuan 錢選 (late 13th century)
Historical period(s)
Late Yuan or early Ming dynasty, 14th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 29.5 x 117 cm (11 5/8 x 46 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


bow, China, emperor, fan, horse, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance research underway.

Qian Xuan was foremost among the group of artists who in the early years of the Yuan dynasty revived ancient styles and fused them with their own innovations to create a new and viable artistic vocabulary. In subject matter, this painting is an obvious reference to the past. The Tang dynasty emperor Minghuang (reigned 713-756), seated astride a horse, is watching his favorite concubine, Yang Guifei being helped onto her saddle by maid-servants and attendants. Qian Xuan's use of precise outline and flat color, as well as his arrangement of the figures against a blank background, reflect his awareness of the achievements of Tang dynasty artists. But a new sense of detached restraint which pervades the painting is typical of Qian Xuan's work and characteristic of Yuan dynasty archaism in general.

There is another version of this scroll in the Shanghai Museum.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. "画中人 上海书画出版社." Chinese Figure Painting. Shanghai, China. .
  • Nicole Vandier-Nicolas. Chinese Painting: Expression of a Civilization. New York. fig. 128.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 217.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga shi. 8 vols., Tokyo, 1981-1988. cat. 95, vol. 1: p. 86, vol. 1, pt. 2.
  • Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt. Chinese Ladies in the Istanbul Albums. no. 1. fig. 77.
  • Werner Speiser. China: Geist und Gesellschaft. Kunst der Welt Baden-Baden. frontispiece.
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles. 7 vols., New York and London, 1956-1958. vol. 6: pl. 33.
  • Eli Lancman. Chinese Portraiture. Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo. pl. 34.
  • Chang Yuan-chien. Jen ch'i t'u and the Horse and Figure Painting of Chao Meng-fu. vol. 17, nos.3-4 Taipei, July/October 1982. pl. 21.
  • James Cahill. Ch'ien Hsuan and His Figure Paintings. vol. 12 Honolulu. fig. 6.
  • Michel Beurdeley. L'amateur chinois des Han au XXe siecle. Aspects de l'art Fribourg. pl. 5.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 60, vol. 1: p. 166, pl. 56.
  • Yi Lo-fen. Forum in Women's and Gender Studies. p. 2.
  • BuYun Chen. Empire of Style: Silk and Fashion in Tang China. Seattle, Washington. p. 9, fig. 1.5.
  • Scientific Studies of Pigments in Chinese Paintings. Washington, DC. p. 13, fig. 1.5.
  • Thomas Lawton. The Sixtieth Painting: An Ancient Theme Re-identified. vol. 11, no. 1 Taipei, Autumn 1976. pp. 17-36, pl. 10b.
  • Roger V. Des Forges, John S. Major. The Asian World 600-1500. Medieval and Early Modern World New York. p. 41.
  • Koos de Jong. Dragon & Horse: Saddle Rugs and Other Horse Tack from China and Beyond. p. 50, fig. 4.15.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 50.
  • The Horizon Book of the Arts of China. New York. p. 76.
  • James Cahill. Chinese Painting. Treasures of Asia Geneva and Cleveland. p. 100.
  • Guner Inal. Artistic Relationship Between the Far and Near East as Reflected in the Miniatures of the Gami-at-Tawarih. vol. 10, pts.1/2, 1975-1976. pp. 108-143, figs.5-6.
  • Shane McCausland. Zhao Mengfu: Calligraphy and Painting for Khubilai's China. Hong Kong. pp. 120-121, fig. 2.3.
  • Charles Patrick Fitzgerald. The Horizon History of China. New York. pp. 170-171.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 43, pp. 171-173.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
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