Excerpt from Ban Gu’s Preface to the Two Capitals Rhapsody in seal script

Artist: Wang Shi (1880-1960)
Historical period(s)
Hanging scroll; ink on paper
H x W (image): 104.7 x 32 cm (41 1/4 x 12 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Freer Gallery of Art
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

China, Robert Hatfield Ellsworth collection
Provenance research underway.

When the great Han dynasty was first established, day after day the emperor was afforded no leisure. By the eras of emperors Wu and Xuan, they finally honored the ritual officers and examined literature. Within the palace, they set up the offices of the Bronze Horse Gate and the Stone Canal Pavilion.

The Bronze Horse Gate was located in the city of Chang'an (modern Xi'an, Shaanxi Province), the imperial capital of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.). The gate received this name because of a large bronze statue of a Ferghana horse, erected by the order of Emperor Wu (reigned 140-87 B.C.E.), that stood in front of the government office where officials gathered to await the imperial summons. 

Wang Shi, a native of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, learned calligraphy from his well-educated father and was skillful in seal script and seal carving by the time he was a teenager. As here, his works are always symmetrical in composition and subtle in execution.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Whistler's Neighborhood
Google Cultural Institute
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