Portrait of a Woman in White: Lu Meiniang


Artist: Formerly attributed to He Chong (傳)何充 (active ca. 1078-1085)
Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, 14th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 116.5 x 42.1 cm (45 7/8 x 16 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

China, Daoist Immortals, portrait, woman, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)

To 1917
Li Wenqing (late 19th-early 20th century), Shanghai, to 1917 [1]

From 1917 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Li Wenqing, in New York, in 1917 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 1160, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, Voucher No. 18, December 1916.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Li Wenqing (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1869 - 1931


Lu Meiniang (Eyebrow Maiden Lu) was a concubine of the Tang emperor who later became a Daoist immortal. Allegedly she was born with long, threadlike eyebrows--hence her name. With a sheer white robe and the gauze cap of a Confucian scholar, Lu is dressed in the attire common among Tang court ladies. The slender proportions of the figure and sharp angular brushstrokes of the drapery folds reflect the influence of late Northern Song figure paintings.

To learn more about this and similar objects, visit http://www.asia.si.edu/SongYuan/default.asp Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 45, pp. 178-181.
  • Osvald Siren. A History of Early Chinese Painting. 2 vols., London. vol. 2, pl. 30.
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Paintings in American Collections. Annales du Musee Guimet. Bibliotheque d'art. Nouvelle serie. II Paris and Brussels, 1927-1928. pl. 94.
  • Kinjiro Harada. The Pageant of Chinese Painting. Tokyo. pl. 104.
  • William Cohn. Chinese Painting. London and New York. pl. 65.
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles. 7 vols., New York and London, 1956-1958. p. 49, pl. 203.
  • Jacques Gernet. Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276. Daily Life Series; 7 London. pl. 6.
  • Eli Lancman. Chinese Portraiture. Rutland, VT and Tokyo. pl. 23.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting). 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. p. 250.
  • Agnes E. Meyer. The Charles L. Freer Collection. vol. 12, No. 2. Brooklyn, August 1927. p. 76.
  • Hai wai i chen (Chinese Art in Overseas Collections). Taipei, 1985. vol. 1, no. 25.
  • Song Dynasty Paintings Project. multi-volumed, . .
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. 4 vols., Oxford and New York. .
  • .
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum