- Provenance research underway.
The artist's inscription explains that this handscroll depicts the legendary hero Zhong Kui, known as the Demon Queller, setting out on a hunting exhibition with his sister. According to legend, when Emperor Xuanzong (reigned 712-56) fell ill with fever, he dreamt that a small demon broke into the palace. Suddenly, a large man calling himself Zhong Kui appeared, attacked the demon, and devoured it; when the emperor awoke, his illness had miraculously vanished. The emperor summoned a court painter to make a portrait of the figure in his dream, and the painting was distributed throughout the empire as a talisman to expel harmful spirits. By the tenth century, other popular legends and practices began to accrue around the figure of Zhong Kui; for example, he acquired both a wife and younger sister.
In Gong Kai's humorous and imaginative painting, Zhong Kui and his sister are shown riding in sedan chairs. A retinue of slave-demons accompany them and carry Zhong Kui's sword, bundles of household goods, pots of wine, and smaller demons they have captured.
To learn more about this and similar objects, visit http://www.asia.si.edu/SongYuan/default.asp Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.
- Published References
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- Richard von Glahn. The Sinister Way: The Divine and the Demonic in Chinese Religious Culture. Berkeley. fig. 17.
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. Orientale Roma, vol. 19 Rome. opp. p. 127, fig. 62.
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- Wai ta i shu chuan t'ung t'u lu [The Great Heritage of Chinese Art in Private Collections Museums all over the World]. multi-volumed, Shanghai. vol. 2: pls. 10, 11.
- Song Dynasty Paintings Project. multi-volumed, . .
- Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 43, vol. 1: p. 43.
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- Peter Sturman. Sung Loyalist Calligraphy in the Early Years of the Yuan Dynasty. vol. 19, no. 4 Taipei. pp. 79-86, fig. 20-21, 21a.
- Judith Burling, Arthur H. Burling. Chinese Art. New York. p. 113.
- Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 35, pp. 142-149.
- T'ing-k'uan Wen. Man hua su ku: Caricatures of Old Times. Mei shu shih lun ts'ung k'an, no. 2 Peking. p. 144.
- Peter Sturman.
Confronting Dynastic Change: Painting after Mongol Reunification of North and South China. no. 35 Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp. 155-157, 159-163, fig. 6, 8.
- The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty. Exh. cat. London and New Haven, September 28 - January 2, 2010. pp. 185-186, fig. 205.
- Patricia Buckley Ebrey. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China., 3rd Edition. Cambridge, United Kingdom, September 1, 2022. p. 189.
- Dagny Carter. Four Thousand Years of China's Art. New York. p. 234.
- Shou-Chien Shih. From Style to Huayi: Ruminating on Chinese Art History. Taipei, Taiwan. pp.254-255, fig. 161.
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
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