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

Date:

Yuan dynasty (1279–1368)

Artist:

Artist Unknown
Chinese

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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Asian Art

Title

Yang Pu Moving His Family

Origin

China

Date

1279–1368

Medium

Handscroll; ink and light color on paper

Dimensions

52.7 × 231.1 cm (20 3/4 × 91 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number

1952.9

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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