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Artist: Dai Benxiao (1621-1693) Colophons by Weng Tonghe (1830-1904)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1688-89
Album of ten leaves; ink on paper
H x W (paintings, a-j): 21.7 x 20.1 cm (8 9/16 x 7 15/16 in)
Credit Line
Transfer from the United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting


boat, buffalo, China, crane, landscape, man, mountain, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), river, water, water buffalo, waterfall, WWII-era 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
Department of Treasury, U. S. Customs Service [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)

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


A native of northern Anhui Province, Dai Benxiao spent many years in the nearby city of Nanjing. He mainly worked in the dry, linear style of ink-landscape painting favored by other contemporary artists from Anhui, while his individual approach is distinguished by its sparseness and use of rubbed effects. In his late works, as here, Dai's brushwork became softer and his interest shifted from line to volume, probably influenced by his exposure to the Nanjing School. Creating this album at his home in Anhui, Dai inscribed each leaf with a poetic couplet that relates directly to the particular scene.

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