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Admonitions handscroll
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Тhis handscroll, one of the earliest surviving paintings on silk made in China, is the Museum’s most important Chinese painting. It illustrates a poem entitled ‘The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies’, which offers a code of ethics to the women of the imperial court. The painting is probably a copy made in the late fifth or sixth century of an original by the leading Chinese figural painter Gu Kaizhi (c. AD 344-306), who was renowned for his ability to capture the spirit of his subjects.

The painting is also important because of who collected it. It was recorded in the collection of the emperor Huizong of the Northern Song dynasty (r. 1101-25) and has an inscription by the emperor Zhangzong of the Jin dynasty (r. 1189-1208). During the Yuan and Ming dynasties it passed through various private hands until in the Qing dynasty it entered the collection of the emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-95).

Admonitions handscroll

Painted in China, c. 6th century AD
Ht 25 cm

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