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Clearing after Snow at the Han Pass

Tang Yin (唐寅,1470-1524), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) 

Hanging scroll, ink and light color on silk, 69.9 x 37.3 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei

       With its high peaks and lofty mountains, this painting depicts snow accumulated at a rocky pass. An ox and donkey cart transports goods, braving the cold to make a difficult journey along the path. The area for the sky and water is washed in light ink, highlighting places left blank to indicate snow for a pure and desolate atmosphere. Standing in the foreground are bare trees, including willows. The rocks do not have many texture strokes, highlighting a sense of snow. The variety of brushwork in this painting creates a strong and natural feeling, while the lines for the cart, building, and bridge motifs are all delicately rendered.

       The first two lines of the poem inscribed in the upper right corner describe the theme, while the latter two mention the first thaw of snow in spring and the difficulties of travel. In 1507, Tang Yin had his Peach Blossom Retreat built within the northern city wall of Suzhou, including the Learning Garden Hall (學圃堂) and Dream Ink Pavilion (夢墨亭). Tang Yin impressed a leisure seal of “Learning Garden Hall”on this painting.

Clearing after Snow at the Han Pass