Art/ Collection/ Art Object

元 佚名 臨王振鵬 金明池圖 卷
Dragon Boat Regatta on Jinming Lake

After Wang Zhenpeng (Chinese, active ca. 1275–1330)
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
14th century (?)
Handscroll; ink on silk
Image: 13 1/2 x 17 ft 6 in. (34.3 cm x 53.8 m)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 1966
Accession Number:
Not on view
Dragon boat races are traditionally held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month to commemorate the death of the virtuous minister Qu Yuan (343–277 B.C.), who drowned himself to refute slander. Depicted here is a race sponsored by Emperor Huizong (r. 1101–25) on the third day of the third month, on Jinming ("Golden Bright") Lake, which was located in an imperial park at the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng.

The picture is a remarkable example of jiehua, or "ruled-line," painting, the intricate style of depicting architecture perfected by Wang Zhenpeng. According to the inscription, Wang executed this painting in 1323 for the Grand Elder Princess Sennge (ca. 1283–1331), the older sister of Emperor Renzong (r. 1312–20), after a similar composition he had painted for Renzong in 1310.

A powerful figure in the Mongol court, Princess Sennge was one of the foremost art collectors of the age, and her seals appear on many early paintings and calligraphies. Two of her seals are impressed on the Metropolitan scroll: one in the upper-right corner of the painting, the other following Wang's inscription. The weak carving of the legends and the harsh color of the seal paste, however, suggest
that both seals are forgeries. The stiffness of Wang's clerical-script inscription also marks it as a copy. The subject was immensely popular—at least five other versions of this composition exist. The Metropolitan's painting appears to be a later fourteenth-century copy of Wang's famous composition.
Inscription: Artist’s signature (1 column in clerical script, undated):

Servitor Wang Zhenpeng


Artist’s colophon (18 columns in clerical script, dated 1323):

In the Chongning reign era [1102–06], the Jinming [Golden Bright] Lake used to be opened on the third day of the third lunar month and prizes were offered so that the citizens could share its pleasure with the monarch. This is described in detail in the Dreams of the Splendor of the Eastern Capital [Menghua lu by Meng Yuanlao]. In the gengxu year of the Zhida reign era [1310], it happened to be the “Festival of a Thousand Springs” [i.e., the royal birthday] of his imperial highness, the heir-apparent, the future emperor Renzong, when I did a painting depicting this subject for presentation [as a birthday gift]. I inscribed on the painting the following poem:
On the third day of the third lunar month the Golden Bright Pond was bustling with games of the giant dragon boats,
Amidst the thundering applause and cacophony of drumbeats and music.
The aura of joy was radiant as the sun and brightened the flags and banners.
Although the prizes could not be worth much, the river-boys from the Wu District
Were heedless in the height of their ecstasy.
They remind us of all the foolish competitors of the world
Who strive forward by inches and backward by feet.
But what actually counts is the idea of shared pleasures with the entire populace.
For that reason alone, I dare to compose this piece of ‘soundless poetry’ [painting].
The Heir-apparent leads a simple life and indulges himself in no excesses.
In the garden of the arts and the forest of books alone, he enjoys himself with spiritual and visual pleasures.
Today on the occasion of his royal birthday, I respectfully record this for posterity –
As a ‘golden example for the coming thousands of years.’
I respectfully recall that on that occasion Her Imperial Highness, Dazhang Gongzhu [The Grand Elder Princess] had seen my painting. Now, after a lapse of more than twelve year, I am instructed to make another version of the same composition. My eyesight however, is not as good as before. Even though I have tried my best to comply, I am still deeply afraid that the painting is unworthy of presentation for her royal scrutiny. In the late spring of the guihai year of the Zhizhi reign era [1323] Linjiling (In charge of the Granary), Wang Zhenpeng, prostrating himself, respectfully painted and wrote this.[1]


Artist's seal

Teci Guyun Chushi tushu 特賜孤雲處士圖書

Label strip

Unidentified artist, 1 column in standard script, undated:



1. Ye Gongchuo 葉恭綽 (1881–1968), 18 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1937; 1 seal:

此卷于共和十三年得于津門,審其界畫精工,洵非孤雲莫辦。 《穰梨過眼錄》 九載此卷,尺寸、款識悉相合,不知何時歸於景樸孫,而又流出市肆也。蚤 《大觀錄》 十八亦載有此卷,孤雲題識並同,依其所紀,亦為絹本,惟圖章不合,又彼為著色者,又云:“姬人紅衫髽髻,鼓楫相向。”而此則無之。其一畫而兩繪,與復無此理。或者此為粉本未及著色者,則不應有‘皇姊珍玩之章’。余意此卷當確是真跡,其 《大觀錄》 所載一卷,未曾寓目,無從臆斷。證以此卷一無題跋,或者經作偽者割真跋以附贗作,亦未可知。此種方法余已屢見之矣。丁卯初秋展觀,輙析所疑于此。葉恭綽 [印] :譽虎

2. Ye Gongchuo 葉恭綽 (1881–1968), 15 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1942; 2 seals:

余於民國廿六年南來,此卷置行篋中。頃檢 《式古堂書畫彙考》 十八亦載有此卷,所紀畫本題記悉與此同,惟李源道、袁桷、鄧文原諸家題詩均為此卷所無。余前跋所云割真跋以附贗本,信不誣矣。卞錄屢稱此卷曾歸韓氏,今畫後有韓氏半印,可以為證,知此卷即曾歸韓氏者。惟卞錄又云有錢氏合缝印,今未之見。豈恰在斷爛絹幅內,為裝池者毀去耶。抑別有他故,無從臆斷矣。朱蠖公先生子北平別得一卷,絹本著色,而無題字,畫稿完全本此,則出摹繪無疑,今亦在余所,筆墨相去遠矣。民國三十一年六月葉恭綽漫識。 [印]: 遐庵六十後作、葉恭綽譽虎印

Collectors’ seals

Xianggelaji 祥哥剌吉 (Princess Sengee, 1283–1331)

Han Shineng 韓世能 (1528–1598)
Han yin [half seal] 韓印(半印)

Wang Yirong 王懿榮 (1845–1900)

Wanyan Jingxian 完顔景賢 (late 19th–early 20th c.)

Ye Gongchuo 葉恭綽 (1881–1968)


Illegible: 2

[1] Trans. from Lee, Sherman E. Lee and Ho Wai-kam, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). Exh. cat. Cleveland, OH: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 1968, cat. no. 201. Modified.
[ Mrs. Julia Cheng , New York, until 1966; sold to MMA]
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," October 1, 1968–November 4, 1968.

New York. Asia House Gallery. "Chinese Art Under the Mongols," January 9, 1969–February 2, 1969.

Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.

Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1, 2000–August 20, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Yuan Revolution: Art and Dynastic Change," August 21, 2010–January 9, 2011.

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