清 徐揚 等 乾隆南巡圖 （第六卷﹕大運河至蘇州） 卷
The Qianlong Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour, Scroll Six: Entering Suzhou along the Grand Canal
Xu Yang (Chinese, active ca. 1750–after 1776) and assistants
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Handscroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 27 1/8 in. x 784 1/2 in. (68.8 x 1994 cm)
Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1988
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 216
The court painter Xu Yang, a native of Suzhou, was commissioned by the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736–95) to record in twelve monumental handscrolls the emperor's historic 1751 tour of south China. This scroll, the longest of the twelve, chronicles the lavish pageantry of the emperor's arrival in Suzhou.
The careful attention to detail offers a rare opportunity to observe the daily life and activities of an eighteenth-century Chinese city. People, residences, shops, famous temples, and renowned scenic gardens and sites reflect the artist's intimate knowledge and love of his hometown. The influence of Western art on court taste is evident in the use of perspective and foreshortening in architectural details. Grand Secretary Yu Minzhong inscribed the beginning of the painting with a poem about Suzhou composed by the Qianlong emperor. Palace archives reveal that Xu Yang began a draft of this set of scrolls in 1764 and completed the silk version in time for the emperor's sixtieth birthday, in 1770.
Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature, or seal
Yu Minzhong 于敏中(1714–1779), 17 columns in semi-cursive and standard scripts, undated; 2 seals: