Tales of the Brush: Literary Masterpieces in Chinese Painting

As early as the first century to the present day, Chinese artists have turned to literature for inspiration for their paintings, works on silk and paper, and other objects. By creating a close correlation between text and image, artists over the centuries have depicted famous mythical scenes, interpreted beloved poems and stories, and illustrated significant events in Chinese history. Among the major literary themes on view are the mythical Queen Mother of the West, the poetic Gathering at the Orchid Pavilion, the historical tale of Emperor Minghuang’s Journey to Shu, and the novelistic Story of the Western Chamber. When considered together, the works in Tales of the Brush provide insight into the honored worlds of Chinese art and literature.