Spring Festival Along the River
清明上河圖; Peace Reigns Over the River; Going Up River During the Qingming Festival; Spring Festival Along the River
ink and color on silk
24.8 cm (height) x 528.7 cm (length)
The scroll describes the busy water and land carriage, flourishing markets in the capital of Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) on a spring day. Emperor Huizong’s (r. 1100-1135) lost inscription (originally attached in front of the painting) indicates this emperor’s love of this scroll. The subject and atmosphere of the painting must also correspond well with his intention. Therefore, it is no wonder that even though it was created at a time of economic crisis and civil rebellions at the end of the dynasty, the only subject of this scroll is prosperity and peace. The emphasis of the shops in the streets may also reflect the emperor’s interest in commerce, because he even reconstructed a miniaturized commercial street in the palace as a way of entertainment, according to the contemporary anecdote. However, not long after the scroll was executed, the Northern Song dynasty was overthrown by the Jurchen Jin dynasty (1115-1234) from north.
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