Art/ Collection/ Art Object

清 袁耀 雪棧行旅圖 軸
Hostelry and Travelers in Snowy Mountains

Yuan Yao (Chinese, active 1730–after 1778)
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
dated 1745
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 67 1/4 x 48 3/4 in. (170.8 x 123.8 cm) Overall with mounting: 121 3/4 x 50 1/2 in. (309.2 x 128.3 cm) Overall with knobs: 121 3/4 x 54 1/2 in. (309.2 x 138.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Wang and Family, in memory of Douglas Dillon, 2003
Accession Number:
Not on view
This painting, with its extravagant depiction of the rigors of traveling in the mountains in winter, would have appealed to the merchants from the northern province of Shanxi. Inspired by fantastic garden rockeries rather than an actual landscape, Yuan Yao’s fanciful composition juxtaposes a twisting vertical mountainscape with a level vista where a playful zigzag bridge bisects the view. A distant range of precipitous peaks is straddled by a bridge ornamented with a pavilion—a typical garden conceit in the level terrain of south China—that is incongruously suspended over a deep chasm. In the foreground, a bustling country inn promises a welcome rest stop for travelers.

Yuan first laid out this monochrome masterpiece with pale outlines then added broader, boldly brushed contours in varying ink tones that both model forms and enliven them with graphic energy. The result is a dynamic composition that appears to have been executed with great spontaneity—belying the care with which each motif was planned and rendered. Yuan’s craftsmanship is most apparent in his handling of ink washes that leave the snow-covered surfaces in reserve.
Inscription: Artist's inscription and signature (2 columns in semi-cursive script)

Hostelry and Travelers in Snowy Mountains. It is spring of the yichou year [1745]. Painted by Yuan Yao from the Han River [Yangzhou].


Artist's seals

Yuan Yao 袁耀
Zhaodao 昭道

Label Strip

Unidentified artist (outside of mounting):

袁耀 《雪棧行旅圖》 無上神品

Collector’s seal

Wang Jiqian 王季遷 (C. C. Wang, 1907–2003)
Wang Jiqian shi shending zhenji 王季遷氏審定真迹
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