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Snow Wave Rocks and the Qianlong Emperor’s Record of the Snow Wave Rocks

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Medium: ink with colors on paper
Format: handscroll

Calligrapher(s): Qian Weicheng (1720–1772)

Dimensions: 28 cm × 190 cm

In the eighth year (1093) of the Yuanyou reign (1086–1094), while serving as an official at Dingzhou, Su Shi (1037–1101, style name Dongpo Jushi) obtained the Snow Wave Rock (Xuelang shi), which became the eponym of his studio. This rock was rediscovered at the end of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) and moved to the Garden of Numerous Springs (Zhongchun yuan, now on the premises of Hospital 8640 of the People’s Armed Police) during the Kangxi reign (1662–1722). In the thirty-first year (1766) of the Qianlong reign (1736–1795), Zhili Governor-General Fang Guancheng (1696–1768) presented the emperor with another unusual rock engraved with “Snow Wave” (Xuelang). The Qianlong Emperor researched the rock and subsequently sent it to Dingzhou to be paired with Dongpo’s Snow Wave Rock; the sovereign recorded these happenings in his Record of the Snow Wave Rocks (Xuelang shi ji). This work by Qian Weicheng (1720–1772) includes paintings of both rocks and calligraphy of the emperor’s inscription in the calligraphic style of Su Shi.

Originally from Wujin (present-day Changzhou, Jiangsu Province), Qian Weicheng was an important literary official, calligrapher, and painter in the Qianlong court. He was known by his courtesy name (zi) Zongpan and style name (hao) Chashan.

Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu


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