Landscape for Qiu Yuanwu

The painting is a landscape scene rendered with a dry brush. A few figures are depicted among lakes and mountains, with a few boats and buildings.

The contribution of each artist was as follows: Fang Heng-hsien painted 80% of the houses and fences, while Ch’eng Sui did about 1/3 of them; of the boats and figures, Ch’eng Ui and Chang Hsun each did half; and as for mountains, trees, and overall composition, Ch’eng Sui did 2/7, Fang Heng-hsien did 1/15, and Chang Hsun did 70%. (The somewhat awkward proportions or percentages are based on Chinese text.)

Mustard yellow silk wrapper.

View right to left

Maker(s)
Artist: Cheng Sui (1607-1692) Fang Hengxian (1620-1679) Zhang Xun (mid-17th century)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1668
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 21 x 283.2 cm (8 1/4 x 111 1/2 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Transfer from the United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1980.108
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Handscroll

Keywords
China, landscape, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1960
Chen Rentao (1906-1968), Hong Kong, and Frank Caro, C. T. Loo & Co., New York, to 1960 [1]

From 1960 to 1979
U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury [2]

From 1979
Freer Gallery of Art, from October 23, 1979 [3]

[1] This object is one of a group of 88 objects (F80.104-F80.180, FSC-S-22-25 and FSC-O-11a-h) seized in 1960 by the U.S. Customs Service, Department of the Treasury, from the dealer and collector Chen Rentao, Hong Kong and Frank Caro of C. T. Loo & Co., New York. The objects were deemed to have been introduced into the commerce of the United States in violation of 19 U.S.C. 1592 (Trade with Communist China).

[2] See note 1. The object’s ownership title is based on the settlement agreement, dated November 1971, between the United States, Chen Tung Siang Wen, the executrix for Chen Rentao Estate, and Frank Caro, copy in object file. See U.S. Customs Service Memorandum, April 23, 1979 and a letter from Thadeus Rojek, Chief Counsel, Department of the Treasury, U.S. Custom Service, to Marie C. Malaro, Assistant General Counsel, Smithsonian Institution, dated November 29, 1979, copy in object file. The objects remained in the custody of the U.S. Customs Service office in New York until 1979.

[3] The object was transferred to the Freer Gallery of Art on October 23, 1979.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

U.S. Customs Service
Frank Caro 1904-1980
Chen Rentao 1906-1968

Description

The painting is a landscape scene rendered with a dry brush. A few figures are depicted among lakes and mountains, with a few boats and buildings.

The contribution of each artist was as follows: Fang Heng-hsien painted 80% of the houses and fences, while Ch'eng Sui did about 1/3 of them; of the boats and figures, Ch'eng Ui and Chang Hsun each did half; and as for mountains, trees, and overall composition, Ch'eng Sui did 2/7, Fang Heng-hsien did 1/15, and Chang Hsun did 70%. (The somewhat awkward proportions or percentages are based on Chinese text.)

Mustard yellow silk wrapper.

Inscription(s)

(Fu Shen and Julia Murray, 1981) A large number of colophons are mounted in the handscroll: four of these are placed before the paintings, as follows:

A. Ching-yu (unidentified), Ten poems dedicated to Mr. Ch'iu of K'o-ts'un (K'o-ts'un Ch'iu hsien-sheng); written in clerical script. The writing is dated in the year kuei-ch'ou (i.e., 1673), when Ching-yu was 65 sui (64 years old by Western count). Three seals of Ching-yu accompany the colophon.

B. Fang Hsiao-piao (also known as Fang Yuan-ch'eng; chin-shih 1649), colophon written for the same Mr. Ch'iu and dated in the ninth month of the year ping-ch'en (i.e. 1676). Four seals accompany the colophon. (Fang Hsiao-piao, a calligrapher, was a native of T'ung-ch'eng, Anhwei. His alternate names include Lou-kan and Yuan-ch'eng.)

C. Yao Wen-hsieh (chin-shih 1661), poem written in running script, accompanied by three seals. (Yao Wen-hsieh, a landscape painter from T'ung-ch'eng, Anhwei, used the alternate names Ching-san, Huang-yeh shan-ch'iao, and Keng-hu.)

D. Chin Ch'i-yu (unidentified, colophon written in regular script directly on the mounting silk in front of the painting. Three seals accompany the colophon.

The rest of the colophons are mounted after the painting. They are the following:

E. Ch'eng sui (1605-1691), colophon written in running script, dedicated to Lung-piao; i.e., Mr. Ch'iu mentioned in Ching-yu's colophon (A above). Two seals accompany the colophon. (Biographical information on Ch'eng Sui is given below.)

F. Chang Hsun (17th century), colophon dedicated to Lung-piao and accompanied by two seals. The information contained in the colophon is extremely interesting. Chang says that in the year i-wei (i.e., 1655), Sun Pei-hai (i.e., Sung Ch'eng-tse, 1592-1675, chin-shih 1631, a collector and author of the catalogue, Keng-tzu hsiao-hsia chi [1660]; native of Ta-hsing, Hopei) invited Chou Liang-Kung (1612-1672, chin-shih 1640; important Nanking collector and author of Tu-hua lu) and Fu Meng-chen (unidentified) to view his collection. There was a joint work by Wang Meng (1308-1385) and Huang Kung-wang (1269-1354), a small hanging scroll--an extremely rare thing. Then, (later), Chang Hsun, Ch'eng Sui, and Fang Heng-hsien painted a joint work for Lung-piao (Mr. Ch'iu of colophon A above). The contributions of each artist was as follows: Fang Heng-hsien painted 80% of the houses and fences, while Ch'eng Sui did about 1/3 of them; of the boats and figures, Ch'eng Ui and Chang Hsun each did half; and as for mountains, trees, and overall composition, Ch'eng Sui did 2/7, Fang Heng-hsien did 1/15, and Chang Hsun did 70%. Only someone who really knows the three artists will be able to tell who did what (Chang Hsun's biography appears below. The somewhat awkward proportions or percentages are based on Chinese text.)

G. Ch'eng K'ang-chuang (17th century), colophon written for Lung-piao. Accompanied by one seal (Ch'eng K'ang-sheng, a native of Wu-hsiang, Shansi, was a friend of the literatus Wang Shih-chen (1634-1711) and used the alternate names T'an-ju and K'un-lun.)

H. Chang Tsai-hsu (unidentified), colophon for Lung-piao, accompanied by one seal.

I. Yang Ta-k'un (chin-shih 1649), poem written in regular script, dated the year chi-yu (1669) and accompanied by three seals. (Yang Ta-k'un, the son of Yang T'ing-chien [chin-shih 1643], was a calligrapher from Wu-chin, Kiangsu. His alternative names were Chiu-t'uan, Ch'iu-p'ing, and T'ao-yun.)

J. Li Chen-yu (chin-shih during K'ang-hsi reign [1662-1722]). Poem. Three seals. (From its position, the colophon is dateable to 1669.) (Li Chen-yu, a native of Chi-shui, Kansu, had the alternative names Wei-jao and Ch'eng-chai.)

K. Keng Nien-ch'u (unidentified). Colophon dated chi-yu (1669) and dedicated to Lung-piao. Accompanied by one seal.

L. Li I-yang (unidentified), colophon dedicated to Lung-piao; accompanied by one seal.

M. Li Liang-nien (1635-1694), colophon accompanied by one seal. (Li Liang-nien was a native of Chia-hsing, Chekiang.)

N. Wu T'ing-chen (chin-shih 1700), colophon dated kuei-ch'ou (1673?) accompanied by two seals. (Wu T'ing-chen, a native of Wu-chin, Kiangsu, used the alternate names Shan-lun and Nan-ts'un chu-shih.)

O. Yao Chi-hsun (19th c.). Colophon dated the year i-yu in the Kuang-hsu era (i.e. 1885). He notes that the man called Lung-piao in all the colophons is surnamed Ch'iu. (This colophon is written on inserted mounting silk.)

P. Tseng Hsi (1861-1930), chin-shih 1903). Colophon dated in the year ping-yin (i.e., 1926), written for the owner Mr. Yu (unidentified). (Tseng Hsi, a painter and calligrapher, was a native of Heng-yang, Hunan. His alternate names include Tzu-ch'i, Ssu-yuan, and Nung-jan.)

Collectors' seals in the handscroll include those of the following men:

Chang Ta-ch'ien (Chang Dai-chien, 1899- )

Chang Shan-tzu (1882-1940)

Ho Kuan-wu (20th century)

Liang Hui-wu

Chou Tan-yen

Yang Ch'iu-p'ing (i.e. Yang Ta-K'un, ca. 1649)

Yeh Kung-cho (1881- )

Lin Lang-an (20th c.)

Label

Inspired by an earlier landscape created jointly by two masters of the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), this handscroll was painted in 1668 at the request of the scholar-official Qiu Yuanwu, who was passing by boat through the city of Yangzhou. The three friends who jointly executed the work for him were the eminent landscape painters Cheng Sui, Zhang Xun, and Fang Hengxian, who often traveled together and were then residing in the city. The scroll shows a long stretch of river scenery depicted in the ultra-dry, linear style of brushwork that is particularly associated with seventeenth-century artists of the Anhui School. Although each of the three painters had developed his own distinct style of painting, they achieved a rare harmony of purpose and execution in their collaboration on this riverscape. In part of his colophon at the end of the painting, Zhang Xun explained the relative contributions of each artist to the final work:

"Thus we three united our minds and hands and made them one. Of the houses and hamlets, Censor Fang did eight-tenths and Master Cheng did two-sixths. Of the boats and human figures, the Master and I each did half. Of the landforms and vegetation, I did seven-tenths, the Master did two-sevenths, and the Censor did one-fifteenth. As for which of us three did which hill, which tree, which house, which boat, or which human figure, only those who truly know us well can distinguish them one by one without being told."

Translation by Stephen Allee

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