The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 12)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 12)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 11)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 11)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 10)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 10)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 9)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 9)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 8)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 8)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 7)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 7)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 6)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 6)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 5)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 5)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 4)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 4)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 3)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 3)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (First Version)

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“The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River,” typically attributed to Zhang Zeduan, is a Chinese handscroll that is over 800 years old and measures 10.03 inches in height and 17.22 feet in width. It was done in monochrome ink on silk and is considered to be one of the most significant works in Chinese art history.

The title of the scroll (“Qingming shanghe tu” 清明上河圖”) is subject to some debate among modern scholars. “Shanghe tu” is translated, literally, as “going-along-the-river picture,” however, “Qingming” is ambiguous—it can be translated as “clear-bright” (or “peaceful and orderly”), but it is also the name given to a popular festival, held in April on the 100th day after the winter solstice. Some scholars, therefore, believe the title refers to the festival and depicts a series of scenes relating to that celebration. Others argue that the scroll simply depicts a number of peaceful and orderly vignettes along the river (hence some translations of “Peace Reigns Over the River”).

Little is known about the artist, however, the earliest colophon to the scroll reads: “Hanlin Zhang Zeduan, styled Zhengdao, is a native of Dongwu [now Zhucheng, Shandong].” When young, he traveled to and studied at the capital, showing a talent for ruled-line painting and painting objects and everyday life, especially boats and carts, markets and bridges, and moats and paths. He was an expert in other types of paintings as well.

According to “A Record of Mr. Xiang’s Views on Paintings,” Regatta on the Western Lake (Xihu zhengbiao tu) and Peace Reigns Over the River (Qingming shanghe tu) are placed in the category of inspired paintings. The owner should treasure them.

On the day after the Qingming festival, in 1186, Zhang Zhu from Yanshan wrote this colophon.

[Translation adapted from Valerie Hansen’s “The Beijing Qingming Scroll and its Significance for the Study of Chinese History” in the Journal of Sung-Yuan Studies 1996.]

The scroll, which is in excellent condition, is held in the National Palace Museum, Beijing.

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Works

The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 12)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 12)
Click to More
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 11)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 11)
Click to More
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 10)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 10)
Click to More
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 9)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 9)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 8)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 8)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 7)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 7)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 6)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 6)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 5)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 5)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 4)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 4)
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The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 3)
The Qingming Spring Festival Along the River (Section 3)
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