About This Artwork

Cheng Zhengkui (attributed)
Chinese, 1604-76

Dream Journey to Rivers and Mountains, Qing dynasty (1644–1912); c. 1655

Handscroll; ink and soft colors on paper
7 3/4 x 111 in.
Dated:1646 colophon

W. L. Mead Fund, 1953.161

In 1649, the former Ming dynasty official Cheng Zhengkui emerged from retirement in south China to serve the new Manchu Qing court in Beijing. Thereafter, he resolved to paint and present as gifts to his fellow officials an ambitious series of more than one hundred scrolls under the title Dream Journey Among Rivers and Mountains. “Dream Journey,” literally “to travel while reclining,” suggests a tour that is purely visionary. This work is likely one of nearly forty scrolls that reportedly survive from the series. Although painted in Beijing, Cheng’s imagery clearly depicts the low-lying hills, valleys, rivers, and waterfalls distinctive to south China, where intellectuals were relatively isolated from the new, alien regime. His tranquil style integrates subtle elements of earlier masters.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

SOC 9919, New York,NY, The China Institute Gallery,10/19/96-12/21/96.

The Art Institute of Chicago : Ming (1368-1644) Ching (1644-1921) dynasties Exhibition 1964

Publication History

"The Life of a Patron" - ZhouLianggong(1612-1672) and Painters of Seveteenth Century China, by Hongnam Kim, China Institute in America, New York, 1996

The Art Institute of Chicago 1964 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 64-25438

Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Paintings: Vol. 1 American and Canadian Collections, compiled by Kei Suzuki , by University of Tokyo Press, 1982; page I-34, 35, No. A 3–014.




Interpretive Resources

View mobile website