Along the River during the Qingming Festival

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Along the River during the Qingming Festival

Introduction

Along the River during the Qingming Festival artwork is one of the ancient China paintings attributed to the artist, Zhang Zeduan of the Song Dynasty. The artwork captures the Chinese people daily life and the capital, Bianjing landscape that is today’s Kaifang from the Song period of the Northern part. The theme of the painting often attributes to the aspect of celebrating the worldly commotion and festive spirit at the Oingming Festival (Lin 84). This is in comparison to the perspective of the ceremonial holiday including prayers and tomb sweeping. The painting successive scenes are a revelation of the lifestyle of every level in the Chinese society ranging from the poor to the rich and the different economic activities especially in the city and the rural areas (Lin 84).

The painting also offers a glimpse to the era of architecture and clothing. The painting is one of the most renowned works among the Chinese paintings and has been referable by many as the Mona Lisa of china (Lin 84).

The original Handscroll

The painting original handscroll is about 5.25 meters long and 25.5 centimeter in height. In the length, the painting has 814 humans, 60 animals, 28 boats, 170 tress, 20 vehicles, 30 buildings, and 9 sedan chairs. The densely populated and the countryside city outline the two major sections in the painting with a river meandering through the pictures entire length. The right section of the painting is the city’s rural area with two crop fields (Lin 86). The crop fields have unhurried rural folks who are predominantly goatherds, farmers and the pig herders in the bucolic scenery of the painting. The country path hat broadens into a road joins with the city road (Lin 86).

The left half of the painting is the urban area that in the long run leads into a proper city with gates. The economic activities including shops, people loading some cargo onto boats and the tax office are observable in the area (Lin 87). The painting depicts people from all the occupations including actors, jugglers, peddlers, begging, paupers, seers, and fortunetellers, monks requesting for alms, doctors, teachers, innkeepers, metalworkers, and millers. The painting also represents masons, carpenters, and official scholars from every established rank. In Along the River during the Qingming Festival painting city proper from outside separated by the left gate, business of all kinds can be seen with activities including selling grains, wine, cookware, second hand goods, lanterns, arrows and bows, and musical instruments (Lin 87).

There are also business involving gold, dyed fabrics, silver and ornaments, medicine, paintings, artifacts and needles as well as restaurants (China online museum 1). The vendors in the scene extend further along the bridge referred to as the Rainbow Bridge, which infrequently is the Shangtu Bridge. The spot where the great bridge crosses river is the major focus and center of the painting. The great commotion animates the perspective of the people on the bridge (China online museum 1). A boat as seen approaching is at an angle with the mast not absolutely lowered threatening to run into the bridge. The crowds seen standing along the riverside and on the bridge can be seen gesturing and shouting towards the approaching boat. Someone is standing near the bridge apex as seen is trying to lower a rope for the crew outstretching arms below (China online museum 1).

In addition to the diners and the shops in the painting, there are also private residences, inns, temples, official buildings and private residences varying from style and grandeur, from mansions to huts with backyards and front (China online museum 1). Commodities and people transported through various transportation modes as seen includes chariots, sedan chairs, wheeled wagons, beats of labor such as mules and a number of donkeys. The river from the painting has fishing boats with passenger carrying ferries including men pulling the larger ships at the riverbank. The details of the painting corroborate roughly through the Song dynasty writings especially the Dongiing Meng Hua Lu describing the majority of similar features of capital life (China online museum 1).

(Along the River during the Qingming Festival, 1085-1145)

With the modern museums displaying the painting handscrolls rottenly stretching out in full length under glass cases, the original intentions for the paintings was for them t.............


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