A royal barge at sea

Historical period(s)
Ming or Qing dynasty, 16th-17th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 23.7 x 31 cm (9 5/16 x 12 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf

boat, China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), ocean, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), water

To 1915
Tonying and Company, New York to 1915 [1]

From 1915 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Tonying and Company, New York in 1915 [2]

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


[1] See Original Album List, pg. 49, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. By at least 1917, Tonying and Company maintained business locations in Shanghai, Beijing, Paris, London, and New York, NY. This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[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)

Tonying and Company (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


Judging from their features, the people on the barge in this painting are probably non-Chinese. Their stout bodies, dark skin, moon-shaped faces, and shaved heads with braids indicate that they may be Jurchen, a nomadic tribe of the Jin dynasty (1115-1234) from Manchuria. The king, who appears disproportionately larger than the other figures, sits on the top level of his royal barge, attended by his concubines. His men are scattered about the barge, seemingly struggling to navigate the turbulent waters of Bohai Wan, a gulf of the Yellow Sea.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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