Hongli, the Qianlong emperor 乾隆帝 (1711-1799) Search this
Ink and color on silk and paper
H x W (image): 29.7 x 79.3 cm (11 11/16 x 31 1/4 in)
late 12th century
Landscape of fir-pines in wind and snow, with the artist's inscription and Emperor Qianlong's inscription. Six (6) colophons on five sheets of paper, plus one sheet with three (3) collector seals only. Sixty-five (65) collector seals in total.
Outside Label: Xili 西蠡
Artist Inscription: Li Shan 李山
Other Inscription: the Qianlong emperor 乾隆御
True Recluse of Huanghua [Yellow Flower Mountain] 黃華真逸
Gaoyang X-shi 『高陽□氏』 (square relief) – colophon 2, left paper strip, middle
Gaoyang X-shi 『高陽□氏』 (square relief) – colophon 2, left paper strip, middle
Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines, by Li Shan; [with] poem by His Majesty Qianlong.
Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines, by Li Shan of the Jin dynasty. [Inscribed] in the month of sacrificing to the god of the hearth [the twelfth lunar month] in the xinchou year [January 10–February 7, 1902], Xili [Fei Nianci].
Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines, by Li Shan
Made by Li Shan of Pingyang.
[Poem not translated]. Inscribed by the Qianlong emperor.
Surrounding the yard—a thousand, ten-thousand peaks,
Filling the sky, wind and snow smite the fir-pines.
Fire glows in the ground stove, at dusk I fall asleep,
Is there anyone else in the world so indolent as I?
This is a poem by Canliao [11th century]. Only one with a natural inclination to live among mountains could have composed it. Inscribed by the True Recluse of Huanghua [Yellow Flower Mountain]. A visitor came after I had written this, who said that the poem is by Jia Dao [779–849], but I do not know who is right.
During the Taihe reign period [1201–09], this old fellow [Li Shan] was still serving as Director of the Palace Library, and though he was indeed nearly eighty when I first made his acquaintance, his energy had not diminished in the slightest. Whenever he felt happy about some mural he had painted of great trees and rocks, he would step back and squint at it, then sigh to himself saying, ―Now that I’m old, I’m beginning to understand how to paint!‖ Had he truly not built up his strength for a long time and attained such a level of proficiency, his harmonious achievement certainly would not be so easy to know. Now the skill and finesse one sees in Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines are like this. But while it is no fault for someone late in years to trust in his own ability, can anyone in the mundane world truly understand him? Therefore when my deceased father [Wang Tingyun, who was a member of ] the Hanlin Academy, wrote out the poem by some earlier person as an appraisal [of Li’s character], it must have been to place the old fellow on the same ground as the ancient masters. Reading at it, as they say, ―makes one feel more deeply.‖ Twenty-second day in the sixth lunar-month of the guimao year [July 10, 1243], respectfully written by [Wang] Wanqing.
At right is the picture Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines painted by Li Shan, Director of the Palace Library during the Jin dynasty. Following it Old Man Yellow Flower, Wang Tingyun, inscribed a poem by Canliao [see Colophon 1]. Both gentlemen were descendents of famous Song-dynasty families and were renowned courtiers close to the [imperial] Wanyan clan. I have casually composed two quatrains to inscribe at the end [of the scroll], as follows: [poems not translated].If the two gentlemen [Li and Wang] were here today, I’d not be able to stop perspiring [from embarassment]. For Li’s brushwork is free and easy, exceptionally clear and fine, and goes outside the normal path, while [Wang] Tingyun’s [calligraphy] is smooth and elegant, and achieves the samadhi [full realization] of Haiyue’an [Mi Fu, 1051–1107]. Both [works] can be treasured. The [latter] gentleman was barely in his forty-seventh year when he died, yet he always referred to himself as Old Man Yellow Flower, which is extremely funny. At the end of the [second] colophon, the person who calls himself Wanqing attained the rank of Bureau Director of the Right Office in the Branch Secretariat. The History of the Jin Dynasty mistakenly writes [his name as] Manqing, so one should use the [signature] here to correct [this error].Summer, sixth lunar-month of the wuchen year in the Longqing reign period [June 25–July 23, 1568], respectfully inscribed by Wang Shizhen of Wujun.
I previously saw this scroll in Jinling [modern Nanjing], and it has remained in my dreams [ever since], so I am overcome with joy to have the opportunity now to see it again. My friends Qian Shubao [Qian Gu, 1508–after 1578], Gu Jikuang [Gu Shengzhi, active late-16th century], and You Ziqiu [You Qiu, active ca. 1670–1690], are seated here with me. The one recording this [event] is Wufeng shanren, Wen Boren. On the day after the full moon [sixteenth day] in the sixth lunar-month of the wuchen year in the Longqing reign period [July 10, 1568], during the period of Great Heat, [the brothers] Jingmei [Wang Shimao, 1536–1588] and Yuanmei [Wang Shizhen, 1526–1590] brought out this [painting for us to see]. It was truly a rare viewing experience!
On the sixth day of the first spring month in the twenty-eighth year of the Qianlong reign-period [February 18, 1763], the August Emperor rode to the Chonghua Palace and summoned court ministers, altogether twenty-four in number, to be given a banquet, and I your subject [Peng] Qifeng, received the Imperial Favor to be among them. After a while, His Majesty composed two stanzas of regulated verse and commanded His ministers and others [to create] matching poems, and He also made a special gift to each [of the twenty-four courtiers] of a scroll from the Imperial Household Collection painted by a famous artist. I your subject [Peng] Qifeng received Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines, bowing my head respectfully to accept [the scroll]. After the banquet, I took it back to my official residence and rolled out the picture to examine it. [The painting] was done on silk by Li Shan, the Director of the Palace Library during the Taihe reign period [1201–09] of the Jin dynasty. There are a total of eleven fir-pines large and small, and ranges of peaks in serried ranks, unclear and indistinct with a cold and freezing look. The thatched hut is desolate and bare, and there is a person [inside] grasping the table and holding a scroll. In front of the hall, a stand of trees towers up, with straight trunks and lofty branches lifting into the snowy wind. They cannot be cowed or made to bend, and stay luxuriantly green [throughout the winter season] of the Primal Yin, seeming to lean over and shelter what lies below. As the Jin dynasty was not very long after the [Northern] Song, the texture strokes and use of [ink] wash on the trees and stones were influenced by the styles of Song-dynasty artists. Following [the painting] is a poem of Canliao [11th century] written out by the True Recluse of Yellow Flower [Mountain], Wang Tingyun. The colophon by Wang Shizhen of the Ming dynasty [see Colophon 3, above] praises his calligraphy [by stating that] his style of brushwork directly entered the chamber of Haiyue [Mi Fu, 1051–1107]. Yellow Flower’s son, [Wang] Wanqing, added a further inscription to [the scroll].
The manuscript by the Mountain Man of Yanzhou [Wang Shizhen] says that in this scroll Li Shan’s ―brushwork is free and easy, and goes outside the normal path.‖ All this being so, then from the [imperial] Wanyan clan [of the Jin dynasty] on down, this picture has been relished by famous worthies for several hundred years. I humbly read the quatrain in seven-character lines composed by His Majesty, and its thought is profound and eternal. The brushwork is effortless and untrammeled, the round [strokes are done] with spirit and the square with intelligence, each one specially forged and tempered. This scroll is worthy indeed of immortality! During the winter, when I your subject [Peng] Qifeng was in residence [at court], I received the Imperial Command promoting me to Left Censor-in-Chief. The Celestial Certificate descended, sternly enjoining me to maintain the moral integrity [of the pine], which is the last to wither [in winter]. As the Dispensation of the August Throne caused [me], this inferior timber of ailanthus and chestnut oak, to receive [the benefits of] rain and dew and shall forever safeguard their days, averting all harm from axe and hatchet, I was truly overwhelmed by [the Emperor’s] Generosity and Kindness. He had the [scroll’s] fastening pin of green jade carved with eleven characters in clerical script [reading], “Wind and Snow in the Fir-pines, by Li Shan; [with] a poem by His Majesty Qianlong.‖ His seals [on the painting] read: Shiqu baoji, Sanxitang jingjian xi, Qianlong yulan zhi bao, Yi zisun, De jiaqu, Jixia yiqing, Qianlong jianshang, Zhenmi,13 and Zisun bao zhi. [The scroll also] has earlier [seals reading]: Pingyang, Qiankun qingshang, You Ming Wang shi tushu zhi yin, Jiangbiao Huang Lin, Xiubo, An Yizhou jiazhencang, Liang Qingbiao yin, Jiaolin jianding, Jiaolin miwan, Dingyuan,14Zhongya, Gu Jiude,15Yan Ze, and Zhang Yujun.16 I have not transcribed the collector seals on the [colophon] section behind [the painting]. The seven-character [text] on the inside label slip in front [of the painting] must have been written by Wang Zhideng [1535–1612] of the Ming dynasty. Respectfully recorded by the Metropolitan Graduate with Honors, Grand Master for Splendid Happiness, and Left Censor-in-Chief of the Surveillance Bureau, on duty in the Southern Study, your subject Peng Qifeng.
Hongli, the Qianlong emperor (1711-1799; reigned 1735-96) 
From 1763 to 1784
Peng Qifeng (1701-1784), Minister of War, given by the Qianlong emperor on February 18, 1763 
Peng Shaosheng (1740-1796), by descent from his father, Peng Qifeng 
Wu Yun (1811-1883) 
From at least 1909 to 1915
Pang Yuanji (1864-1949), Shanghai 
From 1915 to 1961
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), New York, NY, Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, NY, purchased through C. T. Loo & Co. from Pang Yuanji on May 15, 1915 
Freer Gallery of Art, given by Agnes E. Meyer in December 1961 
 Seven Qianlong’s seals and an inscription of the emperor’s poem are located on the painting, see “Song and Yuan Painting and Calligraphy,” http://www.asia.si.edu/SongYuan/F1961.34/F1961-34.Documentation.pdf, accessed on May 23, 2012.
 Peng Qifeng, the high court official, received the handscroll as a gift from the Qianlong emperor at a banquet held on February 18, 1763. The circumstances of the gift were recorded in the colophon composed by Peng.
After Peng’s death, his son, Peng Shaosheng, invited the famous calligrapher Wang Wenzhi (1730-1802) to inscribe the colophon on the scroll, which he did on May 6, 1786, see “Song and Yuan Painting and Calligraphy,” cited in note 1.
 See note 2.
 Eighteen Wu Yun’s collector seals are located on the painting, see “Song and Yuan Painting and Calligraphy,” cited in note 1.
 Pang Yuanji’s collector seal is located on the painting. The painting is listed in the traditional Chinese catalogue of Pang Yuanji’s collection, Xuzhai minghua lu (Shanghai: Shangyouxuan, 1909), 2:32a-36a as well as in the bilingual catalogue prepared by Pang on the occasion of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, see Pang Lai Ch’en [Pang Yuanji], Biographies of Famous Chinese Paintings: From the Private Collections of L.C. Pang, Che-kiang, China (Shanghai: Mercantile Printing Co., 1915), p. 76-77.
 The handscroll was among the paintings brought by Pang Yuanji, with the assistance of his cousin Pang Zanchen and the dealer C. T. Loo, to the United States on the occasion of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, see Pang Lai Ch’en [Pang Yuanji] 1915, p. 76-77. The Meyers examined the painting in New York prior to its transfer to San Francisco in March and April 1915, see Eugene Meyer’s telegram to Charles L. Freer, April 30, 1915, Eugene Meyer Papers, Library of Congress, copy in object file. The purchase of the scroll was confirmed by an invoice issued by C. T. Loo & Co. to Eugene Meyer on May 15, 1915.
 See Agnes Meyer’s Deed of Gift, dated December 21, 1961, copy in object file.
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Previous custodian or owner:
Hongli, the Qianlong emperor 乾隆帝 (1711-1799)
Peng Qifeng (1701-1784)
Peng Shaosheng (1740-1796)
Wu Yun (1811-1883)
Pang Yuanji 龐元濟 (1864-1949)
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer ((1875-1959) and (1887-1970))