AGE: – Copy Circa 1900’s
CONSTRUCTION: – Parchment and silk
DESCRIPTION: – Qin Ming Shang He To – Qinming Festival | Along The River
LENGTH: – 440cm
HEIGHT: – 20cm
WIDTH: – 28cm
WEIGHT: – 250gms
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The scenes depicted in the Qinming Festival along the River are divided into three parts, a rural scene, city scene, and the famous scene showing the Rainbow bridge, the focus of this more than four metre long book.
The title in Chinese “Qing Ming Shang He To” is a hard covered concertina style copy of the famous Song Dynasty painting attributed to the painter Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145). Zhang Zeduan served in the imperial courst as a professional artist.
This copy was possibly made in the 1900’s. The tan coloured silk in this book is adhered to parchment and comprises of 19 pages, excluding covers. Chinese calligraphy and red seal marks are on the inside of both covers. Covers are covered in a green coloured brocade faded with age. Chinese calligraphy on the top of each internal page could be commentary or poems.
Copies of this famous painting have been reproduced throughout the centuries, this copy is similar to the original Qinming Shang He To painting, dated to the Song Dynasty in scroll form measuring 528cm long by 24.8cm wide.
The original scroll is opened a section at a time from right to left. It shows a panoramic view of activity along the river in the city of Bianjing, today known as kaifeng. The right section of the scroll shows scenery of a rural part of the city and as one scrolls further to the left it comes alive with a hive of activity with people going about their daily lives.
As in the original scroll this central section of the book focuses on an arched bridge known as the Rainbow Bridge or Shangtu Bridge where scenes on the bridge and on the banks is highly charged with people gesturing and pointing in their efforts to alert the people on the boat of the impeding danger of the mast not completely lowered and colliding with the bridge.
The left half of the scroll show houses, temples, hotels and businesses varying in style from poor to affluent. The river is busy with several fishing boats and ferries, whilst on land there are donkeys and buffalo pulling carts and porters supporting sedan chairs for the transport of people.
The Qin-ming festival is a tradition observed by the Chinese for more than 2500 years. The festival is also referred to as Ancestors day or tomb sweeping day. It falls on the 15th day after the spring equinox around the 4th or 5th of April each year.
Throughout most of Asia and China It is customary for many Chinese families to spend the day at the cemetery of their ancestors to clean the grave sites and to make offerings to honour their ancestors memory.
This day is far from a solemn occasion but more like a party where the family burn fake money, Food and paper replicas of material goods for offerings to the ancestors. Food offerings are enjoyed by the family with some left at the grave site for the ancestors.