Chinese paintings have always been the pride of Chinese populace. Qingming Festival by the Riverside is one such thing. Many ancient Chinese painters had left their signatures on their achievements. By the signature on this painting we come to know that the Song painter Zhang Zeduan painted this great artwork some 800 years before our time.
Qingming Festival by the Riverside is a scroll with a length of 528 cm and a height of 25 cm. This picture is painted with ink and light color. This picture has three sections, each section deals with the life and work of the people during Qingming Festival. This festival was celebrated to mourn the death of the ancestors.
This picture is a land mark in Chinese paintings like Mona Lisa in the West. The pictures delineate the noisy streets of Bianjing (now Kaifeng) during the festival. The three sections of Qingming Festival by the Riverside are: scenes of the suburb, the city streets and the Bian River.
In the suburb scene you will see the farmers working and the wealthy section of the town returning from mourning. The ‘street’ section will give you a vivid picture of the humdrum life of the people of that period that no other Chinese painting does. The section on Bian River is charming with its description of an arch bridge thronged with people and boats speeding towards destinations.
Qingming Festival by the Riverside counts over 550 human beings, 20 boats, 30 rooms and pavilions and about 20 vehicles of different sorts. Nowhere will you see such a huge constellation of subjects in any picture. This is the magic of Chinese painting. Not only will you be spellbound looking at the picture, you can have some valuable information on business, architecture, transportation means, and handicrafts of the towns in Song dynasty.