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Hanging scroll painting of gnarled tree

This tall, narrow hanging scroll depicts two trees. The tree nearest the viewer is very tall, nearly filling the length of the scroll. Both trees are crooked, bare, and covered in knots and bumps. The tall tree’s limbs are draped with hanging moss. The trees stand on a hillside that overlooks a river. The portion of the water nearest the viewer is full of rocks, and the wiggling lines in the water suggest movement. The river curves into the background, growing less distinct toward the horizon.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Li Shixing 李士行, Chinese (1282 - 1328)
The Guardian of the Valley
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
first quarter 14th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Yuan dynasty, 1279-1368
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Hanging scroll; ink on silk; with artist signature and seals
painting proper: H. 169.9 x W. 96.9 cm (66 7/8 x 38 1/8 in.)
mounting, including cord and roller ends: H. 249.6 x W. 124.8 cm (98 1/4 x 49 1/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: following the artist's signature at middle left edge of painting: Three artist seals:
    1) Li Shixing yin; 2) Li Cundao shi; 3) Yu Xi Han Mo
  • inscription: artist's signature brush-written in ink at middle left edge of painting: Jiqiu Li Shixing Zundao zuo (translation: Made by Li Shixing, Zundao of Jiqiu)
  • seal: red square intaglio seal at top center: Yi Qin Zhi Bao [seal of a mid- to late Qing imperial prince]


Recorded Ownership History
Ex-Collection: Edward B. Bruce

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
A 10-001 (Suzuki Kei)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Edward B. Bruce Collection of Chinese Paintings; Gift of Galen L. Stone
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Publication History

  • Sherman E. Lee, Chinese Landscape Painting, exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH, 1954), cat. no. 28, pp. 48 and 146, repr. p. 48, fig. 28
  • Sherman E. Lee and Wai-kam Ho, Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, OH, 1968), cat. no. 225
  • Suzuki Kei, Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku, Amerika Kanada hen (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Paintings, Volume 1: American and Canadian Collections), University of Tokyo Press (Tokyo, Japan, 1982), p. 54, no. A 10-001
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 29, p. 33

Exhibition History

  • Chinese Art Under the Mongols, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 10/01/1968 - 11/24/1968
  • A Compelling Legacy: Masterworks of East Asian Painting, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/24/2004 - 03/20/2005
  • 32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/04/2015 - 11/29/2015

Verification Level

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at