Collection online

Wintry Trees 寒林圖

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Wintry Trees 寒林圖
  • Description

    Hanging scroll. Landscape. Bare trees in winter, with reference to Li Cheng (919-67) and a river. Painted in a very dry style. Inscriptions and seals. Ink on paper

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1543
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 90.5 centimetres (image)
    • Width: 31 centimetres (image)
    • Height: 222 centimetres (mount)
    • Width: 61 centimetres (mount)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        top centre
      • Inscription Content

        山樹不知名,山泉處處清。葉丹飄复止,石白凸川兼平。疏密擅風伯,精神是 李成。騷人工寄興,楚涌緬幽情。丙寅春御題。
        乾隆御覽之寶(朱文橢圓印),三希堂精鑑璽(朱文方印), 乾隆鑑賞(白文圓印).
      • Inscription Comment

        Qianlong's inscription and seals
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Comment

        Painter's seals.
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        top left
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

        款題:武原李子成以余有內子之戚,不遠數百里過慰吳門,因談李營丘寒林之妙,遂為作 此, 時雖歲暮, 而天氣和煦, 意興頗佳,篝燈塗抹, 不覺滿紙。比成,漏下四十刻
      • Inscription Translation

        The painter's inscription explains that he made the painting for a Mr. Li Zicheng, who brought a gift to condole with him on the occasion of his wife's funeral. Because of the similarity of names, they discussed Li Cheng's style of wintry trees. Wen Zhengming thanked Li Zicheng by painting this work of bare trees for him, over ten hours. Wen Zhengming signed it, noting his age of 73 years.
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Comment

        Collectors' seals
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

      • Inscription Content

  • Curator's comments

    Rawson 1992:
    Wen Zhengming was the leading amateur-literati painter of the 16th century and, with Shen Zhou (1427-1509), one of the principal artists of the Wu school of the scholars-officials. Both of them looked back to the work of the Yuan masters and were preoccupied with the identification of different forms of brushwork as suitably expressive for different occasions.
    This painting was said by him to have been inspired by the work of Li Cheng, a tenth-century landscape artist. Its spare, rather dry brushwork again repeats the deliberately simple, austere quality that is the feature of many so-called literati paintings.


  • Bibliography

    • Suzuki 1982 E15-035 bibliographic details
    • Rawson 1992 figure 77 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2014 3 Apr-31 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gems of Chinese painting: a voyage along the Yangzi River'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Credit Line: Purchase funded by the Brooke Sewell Bequest.

  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.Ptg.Add.351 (Chinese Painting Additional Number)
COMPASS Title: Wen Zhengming, Wintry Trees, a hanging scroll painting


COMPASS Title: Wen Zhengming, Wintry Trees, a hanging scroll painting

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: RFC1730

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help