The 青明上河图 Qīngmíng Shànghétú is a famous painting stemming from the Song dynasty.
The original version was a painting from the Song dynasty, depicting life in the capital of the Northern Song – Kaifeng. The above photo is the painting now residing in the Beijing museum.
The 青明 上河图 Qīngmíng Shànghétú is widely recognised in China – much like, for example, Van Gogh’s Starry Night is widely recognised in western countries. It has gone through many copies, by many artists – famous and otherwise – in many different modalities.
This one is an embroidery done by the famous Suzhounese silk embroiderers.
It depicts a crowded street during Qing Ming festival, as people go about their business buying food from street stalls, heading off to the ancestor’s graves to pay their respects.
The scroll is meant to be viewed, as in all ancient Chinese works, from right to left. The poem on the far left is a ‘newer’ addition, said to have been written by Emperor Qian Long in the Qing dynasty.
The poem means:
A wall of gold has been mounted on Shu brocade
Craftsmen from Wu collect spare change
To pay tribute to the abundance of a myriad of families.
The watchtowers of the city rise to great heights.
The bustling scene is truly impressive.
It is a chance to explore vestiges of bygone days.
At that time, people marveled at the size of Yu
And now, we lament the fates of Hui and Qin.
People are still marvelling at the Qing Ming Shang He Tu with its vivid details of past ages.