Artist: Dong Qichang θ‘£ε…Άζ˜Œ (1555-1636)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1617
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 130.5 x 39.2 cm (51 3/8 x 15 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase β€” Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

China, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance research underway.

Dong Qichang is widely acknowledged as the most important painter, calligrapher, connoisseur, and art theorist of the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644). He exerted a powerful influence both in his own time and on subsequent generations of artists and art historians down to the present day. In particular, he extolled certain literati, or scholar-painters, of the Song and Yuan dynasties (tenth to fourteenth centuries), establishing a historical lineage for the transmission of their styles, which he felt should serve as the primary models for artistic emulation. This deceptively simple painting is typical of Dong's mature work both in composition and brushwork. Landscape elements in the foreground and backround are built along strongly defined diagonal planes and divided by a body of water, which is represented by the unpainted surface.
In his inscription, Dong Qichang notes that he created this riverscape for a friend who visited him in Shanghai in 1617 shortly after the Chinese New Year, and states that the scene is based on a poem by the Tang dynasty statesman and scholar Pei Du (765-839):
The path by my gate overlooks a limpid stream,<br>
Ancient trees grow evenly around thatched eaves.<br>
The red dust flies, but does not reach this far,<br>
And from time to time, a little bird cries out.<br>

Published References
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 249.
  • James Cahill. Collecting Paintings in China. vol. 37, April 1963. pp. 66-72.
  • Kathleen Yang. Through a Chinese Connoisseur's Eye: Private Notes of C.C. Wang. Beijing. p.338, fig.119.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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