Palace Ladies Playing Double Sixes

View right to left

Artist: Traditionally attributed to Zhou Fang (傳)周昉 (ca. 730-ca. 800)
Calligrapher: Chu Deyi 褚德彝 , frontispiece and colophon (1871-1942)
Historical period(s)
Southern Song dynasty, late 12th to mid-13th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (overall image): 30.5 x 69.1 cm (12 x 27 3/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


China, game playing, Song dynasty (960 - 1279), Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279)

Mr. Lee, from at least May 25, 1938 [1]

From 1938 to 1939
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, purchased from Mr. Lee on May 25, 1938 [2]

From 1939
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company in July 1939 [3]


[1] See C. T. Loo’s stockcard no. F417: “Painting on silk ‘Ladies at Chess Play’ 9th century, attributed to Chow Fang. Tang dynasty,” C. T. Loo & Frank Caro Archive, Musée Guimet, Paris, copy in object file. According to a note on the stockcard, the painting was brought to Loo’s gallery by “Mr. Lee” on May 25, 1938. It is not known whether Lee was the owner of the painting or acted as an intermediary.

[2] See C. T. Loo’s stockcard, cited in note 1. In June 1938, the painting was sent to the Freer Gallery for examination.

[3] See C. T. Loo’s invoice, dated July 6, 1939, copy in object file. According to Loo’s stockcard cited in note 1, the purchase was made in January 1939. The right-hand section of the painting with two standing figures was acquired by the Freer Gallery in 1960 and then reattached to the painting. It is not known when the fragment had been cut. The colophon by Chu Deyi on the main section of the painting, dated July 8-August 5, 1937, refers to a complete copy of the scroll in the National Palace Museum, Taipei and concludes that a section of the painting “was cut away at some point in a distant past.” See documentation for the painting in “Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy,” For information on the acquisition of the right-hand section of the painting by the Freer Gallery, see provenance record F1960.4.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mr. Lee
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948


To learn more about this and similar objects, visit Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. "画中人 上海书画出版社." Chinese Figure Painting. Shanghai, China. .
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1 (1982 ed.): p. 205.
  • Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt. Chinese Ladies in the Istanbul Albums. no. 1. fig. 145.
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Painting: Leading Masters and Principles. 7 vols., New York and London, 1956-1958. vol. 2, p. 17, vol. 3, pl. 109.
  • Jerome Silbergeld. Chinese Painting Style: Media, Methods, and Principles of Form. Seattle, WA. fig. 15.
  • Laurence Sickman, Alexander Coburn Soper. The Art and Architecture of China. The Pelican History of Art London and Baltimore. pl. 72a.
  • Regina L. Shoolman, Charles E. Slatkin. The Enjoyment of Art in America: A Survey of the Permanent Collections of Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics & Decorative Arts in American and Canadian Museums: Being an Introduction to the Masterpieces of Art from Prehistoric to Modern Times. Philadelphia and New York. pl. 152.
  • Hugo Munsterberg. A Short History of Chinese Art. New York, 1949. pl. 31.
  • Max Loehr. The Great Painters of China. Icon Editions, 1st U.S. edition. Oxford. fig. 29.
  • Lawrence S. Cunningham, John J. Reich. Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities., 6th ed. Belmont, CA. fig. 5.15.
  • Ellen Mae Johnston Laing. Scholars and Sages: A Study in Chinese Figure Paintings. Ann Arbor, 1967-1986. .
  • Hsieh Chih-liu. T'ang wu Tsi Sung Yuan ming chi [Noted Paintings of the T'ang, Five Dynasties, Sung and Yuan periods]. Shanghai. pl. 9.
  • Jacques Gernet. Daily Life in China on the Eve of the Mongol Invasion, 1250-1276. Daily Life Series; 7 London. pl. 10.
  • Michel Beurdeley. Chinese Furniture., 1st ed. Tokyo and New York. fig. 25.
  • Michel Beurdeley. L'amateur chinois des Han au XXe siecle. Aspects de l'art Fribourg. fig. 19.
  • Song Dynasty Paintings Project. multi-volumed, . .
  • Mary Ellen Hayward. The Influence of the Classical Oriental Tradition. vol. 14, no. 2 Chicago, Summer 1979. fig. 2.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 36, vol. 1: pp. 156-8.
  • Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 11.
  • Scientific Studies of Pigments in Chinese Paintings. Washington, DC. p. 16.
  • James Cahill. Chinese Painting. Treasures of Asia Geneva and Cleveland. p. 22.
  • James Cahill. The Return of the Absent Servant: Chou Fang's Double Sixes Restored. vol. 15 Honolulu. pp. 26-28, figs. 1, 2.
  • Peter C. Swann. Chinese Painting. Paris. p. 45.
  • Simonetta De Vries. Recent Oriental Acquisitions by Museums. vol. 12, no. 2 New York, February 1940. p. 45.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 45.
  • Peter C. Swann. Art of China, Korea, and Japan. New York. p. 107, fig. 93.
  • Wen-mei Hsu. "宮中行樂—仇英〈漢宮春曉〉研究." A Study of Qiu Ying's Spring Sawn in the Han Palace and its Relationship to Palace Poetry. Vol. 36, No. 1 Taiwan, China, September 2019. p. 111, fig. 49.2.
  • James Cahill. The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in Seventeenth Century Chinese Painting. The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures Cambridge, Massachusetts. p. 113.
  • Charles Patrick Fitzgerald. The Horizon History of China. New York. p. 158.
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Figure Painting. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 51, pp. 200-203.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Related Objects