The Thatched Hut of Dreaming of an Immortal

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Artist: Tang Yin 唐寅 (1470-1524)
Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, early 16th century
Ink and color on paper
H x W (image): 28.3 × 103 cm (11 1/8 × 40 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, Daoism, Daoist Immortals, dreaming, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), sleeping, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Tonying and Company


A brilliant youth, Tang Yin achieved first place in the provincial examinations that he hoped would open a career for him as an official, but scandal ruined his chances. He instead became a professional painter who received commissions from his scholar friends. This handscroll was requested by Tang's contemporary Wang Dongyuan, who followed Daoist practices meant to encourage longevity. After a prophetic dream in which Wang Dongyuan saw an immortal approaching him, Wang named his garden "Dreaming of an Immortal." It was common in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) for a garden proprietor to take the name of his garden, or a site within it, as a sobriquet, or secondary name. Thus, the painting is a "double image" that refers to Wang Dongyuan as a sleeping figure and, by extension, through the garden property itself. Tang Yin creatively captured the meaning of the garden's name by portraying Wang asleep with the dreamy emanation of an immortal floating in the sky.

Published References
  • Grace Dunham Guest A.G. Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 17.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 80-81.
  • Wai-yee Li. Dream Visions of Transcendence in Chinese Literature and Painting. vol. 3, no. 4 New York, Fall 1990. pp. 54-55, cover.
  • Wendy Frey, Bert Bower, Jim Lobdell. History Alive!: The Ancient World. Palo Alto, CA. p. 211.
  • James Cahill. Chinese Painting. Treasures of Asia Geneva and Cleveland. p. 139.
  • Chiang Chao-shen. T'ang Yin's Calligraphy and Painting. vol. 3, no. 3 Taipei, July 1968/January 1969. pl. 11.
  • Anne de Coursey Clapp. The Painting of T'ang Yin. Chicago. pp.190-96, cover.
  • Jacques Dars. Au gre d'humeurs oisives: Les Carnets Secrets de Li Yu, Un Art du Bonheur en Chine. Arles. p. 66.
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  • Charles Patrick Fitzgerald. The Horizon History of China. New York. p. 71.
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  • Ulrike Kasper. Ecrire sur L'eau: L'esthetique de John Cage. Paris. p. 124.
  • Hugo Munsterberg. The Landscape Painting of China and Japan., 1st ed. Rutland, VT. pl. 61.
  • Nathan Sivin. Chinese Alchemy: Preliminary Studies. Harvard monographs in the history of science Cambridge, MA. p. 146.
  • Suzuki Kei. Sansuiga : Chugoku (Landscape Painting: China). Tokyo. p. 54, fig. 93a.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku (Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting). 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. pp. 206-207.
  • Mary Tregear. Chinese Art. London. .
  • Nicole Vandier-Nicolas. Chinese Painting: Expression of a Civilization. New York. fig. 158.
  • Arthur Waley (Introductory essay). Tao Te Ching: The Way and Its Power and Its Place in Chinese Thought. London. p. 160-161.
  • The Mountain Poems of Stonehouse. Cover.
  • George Du Bois. Understanding China: Dangerous Resentments. .
  • p. 209, fig. 6.1.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum