Nymph of the Luo River
Artist and writer Gu Kaizhi (ca. 344–406) painted Nymph of the Luo River on a long silk scroll during the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317–420). The narrative scroll, from which four copies dating to the Song Dynasty (960–1279) survived (now exhibited in Beijing, Liaoning and Washington), illustrates the poem Ode to the Nymph of the Luo River, written by Cao Zhi (192–232).
It is a large scroll that should be “read” horizontally, depicting the love story between the poet and the nymph, from their meeting to their parting.
Emperor Taizong Receiving the Tibetan Envoy
Emperor Taizong Receiving the Tibetan Envoy depicts the meeting of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) and Ludongzan, Gar Tongtsen Yulsung, an envoy sent by Songtsan Gampo (617–650), the ruler of Tibet, to accompany Princess Wencheng back to Tibet to be his queen. Yan Liben (601–673), the artist who created this painting, was one of the most revered Chinese figure painters in the early years of the Tang Dynasty.
The ink and colour on silk handscroll, 129.6 cm long and 38.5 cm wide, is now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Noble Ladies in Tang Dynasty
Noble Ladies in Tang Dynasty are a serial of paintings drawn by Zhang Xuan (713–755) and Zhou Fang (ca. 730–800), two of the most influential figure painters of the Tang Dynasty, when the paintings of noble ladies became very popular.
The paintings depict the leisurely, lonely and peaceful life of the ladies at court, who are shown to be beautiful, dignified and graceful. Four most-renowned paintings in the serial are Portrait of Lady of Guo Going Sightseeing in Spring (by Zhang Xuan), Court Ladies Preparing Silk (by Zhang Xuan), Court Ladies Adorning Their Hair with Flowers (by Zhou Fang), Court Ladies Swinging Fans (by Zhou Fang).
Zhang Xuan used fine brushwork to make paintings of people and was especially good at painting noble ladies, infants and pommel horses. Zhou Fang was influenced by the pure and detailed style of the Jin Dynasty artist Gu Kaizhi, and his portrayals of court ladies are characterized by round faces and plump figures.
The paintings are now kept in several museums around China.
Five Oxen, a painting by renowned Tang Dynasty artist Han Huang (723–787), is housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Han Huang was born in Chang’an during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (685–762), and served as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Dezong (742–805).
Han was renowned for painting people and animals with detailed facial expressions. He was especially distinguished at painting agricultural life and livestock, including oxen and goats.
Five Oxen is 139.8 centimeters long and 20.8 centimeters wide. The painting, as the name suggests, is of five oxen without any background. The oxen are positioned in a line, each with distinctive appearance, walking or standing, holding their heads high or low. The oxen have bright, piercing eyes and different temperaments: lively, docile, romping and even eccentric.
The Night Revels of Han Xizai
The Night Revels of Han Xizai by Southern Tang (937–975) artist Gu Hongzhong reproduces the historical scene of Southern Tang Minister Han Xizai’s evening banquet. It shows the host and guests, singing and dancing, laughter and joy, as well as the protagonist’s detachment and a sense of gloom. The surviving copy is a 28.7 cm × 335.5 cm, ink and color on silk handscroll made during the Song Dynasty, and is now housed in the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Han Xizai (902–970) was a scholar-official of the Southern Tang court. As he wanted to save himself from a delicate political situation, Han pretended to live a dissolute life, so as to dispel Emperor Li Yu’s (937–978) doubts and suspicion.
Gu Hongzhong (910–980) was a court-painter in the painting academy of the Southern Tang Dynasty during the Five Dynasty and Ten Kingdoms period (907–979). Emperor Li Yu sent Gu to spy on one of Han’s sumptuous parties, leading Gu to produce this famous artwork.
This narrative painting is split into five distinct sections: Han Xizai listens to the pipa, watches dancers, takes a rest, plays string instruments, and then sees guests off. It shows precise portraits of more than 40 figures with fine and continuous brush lines and delicate colors.
The work was not only a painting about personal life, but also represented many features from that period.
A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains
Wang Ximeng, a teenage artist during the Song Dynasty of China, painted A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains in 1113. Wang studied landscape painting at the Imperial Painting Academy, and was taught personally by Emperor Huizong of Song. He was only 18 years old when he painted this artwork, and he passed away probably around the age of 20.
The background of the scene is largely colored gold—the color symbolizing wealth and royalty—further glorifying the country.
The hand scroll is 1,191.5 cm long and 51.5 cm wide. It depicts spectacular landscapes, excellent architecture, exotic animals, and humans living in harmony and peace. It is now part of the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Along the River During the Qingming Festival
Along the River During the Qingming Festival was painted by Zhang Zeduan (1085–1145), a court artist of the North Song Dynasty (960–1127). The handscroll captures the rich scenery and natural landscapes along the shores of Bian River in the Northern Song capital Bianliang, which was located near modern-day Kaifeng in Henan Province.
Painted in light colors on silk and measuring 24.8cm × 528.7cm, the original work is now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is one of the few surviving works by the painter Huang Gongwang (1269–1354). The painting is created based on the Fuchun river’s early autumn scenery. Huang made full use of the Chinese traditional techniques. The arrangement is a masterpiece of movement and stillness as well as density and expansiveness. The ink likewise ranges from extremely dry to moist, and the strokes also vary from centered brushwork to slanted.
Painted between 1348 and 1350, the Chinese landscape painting was burnt into two pieces in 1650. Today, one piece is kept in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum in Hangzhou, while the other piece is kept in the Taipei Palace Museum. The entire painting combined would measure 691.3 cm in length.
這幅山水畫作於元至正八年（1348 ）到至正十年（1350），清順治七年（1650 ）曾遭火焚，斷爲兩段。現分藏於浙江省博物館和臺北故宮博物院。兩段相加橫691.3釐米。
Spring Morning in the Han Palace
Created by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) painter Qiu Ying (ca. 1494–1552), Spring Morning in the Han Palace is a silk scroll painting noted for its bold use of colors. With a length of 574.1 centimeters and a width of 30.6 centimeters, it is considered very large relative to other similar decorative artwork. Qiu Ying is one representative painter in the Ming Dynasty, and is regarded as one of the Four Great Masters of the Ming Dynasty along with Shen Zhou (1427–1509), Wen Zhengming (1470–1559) and Tang Yin (1470–1523).
《漢宮春曉圖》是明代（1368—1644） 畫家仇英（ 約1494—1552） 的一幅絹本仕女畫，縱30.6釐米，橫574.1釐米，以其大膽的色彩運用而聞名。 就裝飾繪畫而言，《漢宮春曉圖》堪稱鉅製。仇英是明朝代表畫家，與沈周（1427—1509）、文徵明（1470—1559）、唐寅（1470—1523）合稱“明四家”。
This long scroll is an imaginary representation of various activities in a Han Dynasty (206BC–220AD) palace on a spring morning. The intricate composition is rendered with crisp brushwork and beautiful colors. Trees and rocks decorate and punctuate the garden scenery of the lavish palace architecture, creating marvelous scenery similar to that of immortal realms. In addition to the groups of beauties, leisure activities of the literati, such as the zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting as well as appreciating antiquities and planting flowers are depicted, making it a masterpiece among Qiu Ying’s historical narrative paintings.
One Hundred Horses
One Hundred Horses was drawn by Lang Shining in the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). Lang was a missionary from Italy with birth name Giuseppe Castiglione. Working as a court painter in China for over 50 years, his talent in painting was regarded highly by Chinese emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. He helped to create a hybrid style that combined the Western realism with traditional Chinese composition and brushwork.
This paper painting, 813 cm long and 102 cm wide, captures 100 horses in various postures. They are kneeling, standing, frolicking, rolling, eating and running on the grassland—staying alone and among groups. The artwork is now preserved in the Taipei Palace Museum.