Zhang Zeduan (Plantilla:Zh-tspw) (1085-1145 AD), alias Zheng Dao, was a famous Chinese painter during the twelfth century, during the transitional period from the Northern Song to the Southern Song Dynasty. He was a native of Dongwu (present Zhucheng, Shandong). There is evidence that he was a court painter of the Northern Song Dynasty, and that in the aftermath of that dynasty's fall, his paintings were criticisms of the new dynasty. Most of what is known about Zhang Zeduan's life comes from a colophon written in 1186 by a man named Zhang Zhu.
Zhang Zeduan's most famous painting is Along the River During Qing Ming Festival, a wide handscroll which depicts life in a city. This painting was made famous throughout China, as an emperor of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 AD) felt compelled to write a poem on his copy of the painting, writing in praise of it. A popular remake of the painting was made in the 18th century, during the Qing Dynasty.
In terms of historical significance, Zhang's original painting reveals much about life in China during the 12th century. Its myriad depictions of different people interacting with one another reveals the nuances of class structure and the many hardships of urban life as well. It also displays accurate depictions of technological practices found in Song China. For example, it depicts one river ship lowering its bipod mast before passing under the prominent bridge of the painting. It shows ships in two major types, yet all of which have slung rudders for steering; the painting depicts freighters with narrow sterns or passenger boats and smaller craft with broad sterns, sailing upriver or docked along the banks while loading and unloading goods. Large stern sweeps and bow sweeps can be seen on at least three of the river ships, worked by up to eight men each.
- Needham, Joseph (1986). Science and Civilization in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology, Part 3, Civil Engineering and Nautics. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd.