Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799)
China, Qing dynasty, 1765 or after
Hanging scroll mounted on panel;
ink on peach silk with gold flecks and hand-drawn floral designs
Gift of Mrs. John Alexander Pope
Emperor Qianlong, who reigned from 1735 to 1796, enjoyed literature and travel. He often composed poems and ordered them carved into stones to commemorate his journeys. The emperor stopped at Lingyan Temple, situated at the base of Mount Fang in Shandong province, at least eight times on various inspection tours. On his first visit in 1757 Emperor Qianlong wrote the poem “Lingyan Temple,” and on each of his successive visits he composed a similar poem using the same rhymes. This scroll contains the third of those poems, written in mid-February 1765 in a smooth, soft running script. The poem was also inscribed on the stone wall located on the east side of the Lingyan Temple’s main gate.