A Special Exhibition of Paintings on "Up the River During Qingming" in the Museum Collection,Period 2019/3/27 to 2019/6/25,Northern Branch Gallery 102


"Up the River During Qingming" is a masterpiece of genre painting, with many replications done over the centuries. This version, completed in 1736, the first year of the Qianlong Emperor's reign, was the collaborative effort of five Qing court artists—Chen Mei, Sun Hu, Jin Kun, Dai Hong, and Cheng Zhidao. Known as the "Qing court version," the hand scroll is richly detailed and faithful to the styles and contents of previous versions. Notable features are bright coloring, mature brushwork, ruled-line architectural representation, and the fine and exact rendering of the figures. Although it departs from the old Song dynasty prototype, it is still an invaluable source of study for Ming and Qing society and customs.

Up the River During Qingming

The Qing Court Artists, Qing dynasty

Up the River During the Qingming

Handscroll, ink and color on silk, 35.6×1152.8 cm

This handscroll represents a collaborative effort on the part of five Painting Academy artists active in the eighteenth century at the Qing court of the Qianlong emperor. The figural scenes are especially numerous and detailed, making this painting stand out among the various versions of "Up the River During Qingming." This scroll can be divided into several major parts, including the rustic setting at the beginning (on the right), arched bridge and market, city wall and surroundings, and Lake Jinming. In addition to the bustling figures and packed shops, there are also untrammeled literati garden settings and a magnificent imperial garden, creating for a fascinating and visually pleasing atmosphere that makes this painting a microcosm of life in China at the time. The architectural elements accord with the rules of perspective, and the buildings and streets are all laid out in an orderly fashion, the use of proportion and distance likewise meticulously handled with great precision. Western-style architecture is also evident. The handling of brush and ink is highly refined and the coloring beautiful, making this the finest of all the "Up the River During Qingming" scrolls in the National Palace Museum collection.