Landscape in the style of Wu Zhen

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Artist: Changying 常瑩 (1600 - 1650)
Calligrapher: Chen Rentao 陳仁濤 (1906-1968)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1638
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 25.9 x 95.2 cm (10 3/16 x 37 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Transfer from the United States Customs Service, Department of the Treasury
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


boat, China, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), 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


The son of an eminent connoisseur of Chinese painting, Li Zhaoheng followed the dictates of style and taste enunciated by his father's friend Dong Qichang (1555–1636), who emphasized the study of masters from the Song and Yuan dynasties (10th-14th century). This gently brushed ink-landscape, with its subtle, textured strokes and stark contrasts of light and dark ink, is imbued with the style of the painter Wu Zhen (1280-1354), one of the Four Great Masters of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). Painted after he had taken religious orders in the Chan (Zen) sect of Buddhism, Li Zhaoheng dedicated this work to a fellow monk.

Published References
  • Chen Rentao. Chin-kuei ts'ang-hua chi (Chinese Paintings in the King Kwei Collection). Kyoto. pl. 43.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum