Famous Chinese Painting ‘China’s Mona Lisa’ is Almost 7 Yards Long

The painting is called Qingming Shanghe Tu. Qingming (清明) means “clear-bright,” and Shanghe Tu (上河圖) means “going-along-the-river-picture.” (Screenshot from Wikipedia)
The painting is called Qingming Shanghe Tu. Qingming (清明) means “clear-bright,” and Shanghe Tu (上河圖) means “going-along-the-river-picture.” (Screenshot from Wikipedia)

One of the most famous Chinese paintings, often referred to as “China’s Mona Lisa” has a connection to the Chinese annual Qingming Festival, celebrated April 4-6 on the Western calendar.

The painting is called Qingming Shanghe Tu. Qingming (清明) means “clear-bright,” and Shanghe Tu (上河圖) means “going-along-the-river-picture.”

Its name has varying translations from “Spring Festival”, “Along the River During the Qingming Festival”, and “Peace Reigns Over the River”

The painting is an enormous panorama, painted in a single color on silk by the 12th-century Song Dynasty artist, Zhang Zeduan.

It stretches 5.74 yards (5.25 meters) in length and is 10 inches (25.5 centimeters) high.

Over 800-years-old, the painting was returned to Beijing after World War II and has rarely been displayed since, being kept safe in the Palace Museum in Beijing.

Qingming Shanghe Tu has been copied by many artists over the centuries—a common practice and legitimate art form—who revered the old masters and sometimes added scenes or details relevant to their own times.

famous Chinese paintings

The bridge scene where the crew of an oncoming boat have not yet fully lowered their sails and are in danger of crashing into the bridge. (Screenshot from Wikipedia)

famous Chinese paintings

Scene of urban sprawl right before the bridge leading to the main gate of the city (seen on the far left) (Screenshot from Wikipedia)

famous Chinese paintings

The main gate of the city and the urban setting within, with teahouses, vendors, homes, and various figures interacting with one another. (Screenshot from Wikipedia)

 

Eight Treasures Tea: An Elixir From Ancient China
5 Surprising Auspicious Chinese Symbols—Bats and Spiders are Good Luck?