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Yang Pu Moving His Family

Long scroll ink painting depicting people with their animals and belongings crossing a river.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Long scroll ink painting depicting people with their animals and belongings crossing a river.


Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) 元朝


Artist Unknown

About this artwork

With a lively combination of realism and caricature, this detail of the painting Yang Pu Moving His Family depicts a group of peasants transporting a rustic scholar and his family across a stream. Distinguished by his official government cap, with its long streamers, the otherwise disheveled, bare-legged scholar bids farewell to his neighbors on the shore. Servants valiantly attempt to carry children and the family’s belongings—scrolls, furniture, and dishes—through the water. The scholar depicted here may represent Yang Pu, a character described in stories of the Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279). According to folklore, Yang Pu initially declined, and then reluctantly accepted, his appointment to a government position in the capital city. Chinese law forbade civil officials from working in their native districts, and as a result, many were required to relocate to distant cities. Painters and poets frequently depicted the theme of farewell, or “noble parting,” exemplified by the story of Yang Pu. The twigs that protrude from the official caps of the men depicted here may allude to the ancient Chinese custom of presenting departing friends with small branches from a willow tree.


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Arts of Asia


Yang Pu Moving His Family


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Handscroll; ink and light color on paper


52.7 × 231.1 cm (20 3/4 × 91 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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