Painting: 32cm x 105.5cm ≈ 12½" x 41½"
Silk Scroll: 41.3cm x 162cm ≈ 16¼" x 63¾"
Width at Wooden Knobs: 50.3cm ≈ 19¾"Information about caring for your new Wall Scroll
With looks powerful enough to bring down a kingdom.
In Chinese culture, there are four famous beautiful woman of China.
They are thought to be the most beautiful and significant woman of China's ancient history.
Although the stories about these woman are based on fact, they are also steeped in legend.
These woman have remained famous through history because of the drastic effects on the emperors, kings, and kingdoms with whom they were bound.
Some of the beauties brought kingdoms and dynasties to their knees.
Most of the beauties had lives that ended in tragedy or mystery.
The legend and history of these woman has inspired Chinese artists for generations to create paintings that depict these four famous beauties of ancient China.
Close up view of the Asian woman artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll
The woman in this painting is known as "Xi Shi"
In 487BC Xi Shi was born to a tea trader from a mountain village in what today is known as the Zhejiang Province of China.
She was always known for her beauty from a young age. And her legend states that she was as beautiful and magnificent with or without wearing any make-up or fine clothes.
Long ago, the kingdom of Yue was vanquished by the kingdom of Wu, and the King of Yue was put into servitude for three years by the Prince of Wu.
When the King of Yue was finally released, he slept on prickly wood, and drank gall before every meal. He did this so that he would always remember the humiliation that he suffered at the hands of the Wu Prince.
Later the king of Yue sent forth men to search for the most beautiful girl in the land. His plan was to send her as a tribute to the Prince of Wu, but not before she agreed to help bring down the Kingdom of Wu and remove the humiliation of the Yue King.
Xi Shi was chosen for the task, and agreed to give her life to restore the honor of her people. She was trained in the ways of proper etiquette, dressed in the finest robes and sent to the capital of Wu with Fan Li, one of the King's ministers.
During the long journey, Xi Shi fell in love with minister Fan Li, and they both pledged their love for each other. But this changed nothing of the important mission that Xi Shi was partaking in.
Once in the Wu capital, she was given to the Wu Prince who gladly took the beautiful "Trojan Horse" as his own. He was enchanted by her looks, and proud of his new trophy.
Over time, the prince began to neglect his political duties, choosing instead to take carriage rides around the capital city to show off Xi Shi. He would even tell the crowd that if they wanted to see Xi Shi, they would have to throw gold coins into his coffer.
Xi Shi stayed on her mission which was to enchant the prince in such a way that his subjects would become disgusted with him, and his friends would desert him. The ultimate goal was to create political chaos which would allow the King of Yue to invade, and take Wu.
Eventually this came to pass, and the state of Wu was annexed by the King of Yue.
Xi Shi disappeared from public life, and minister Fan Li resigned his post, became a successful trader. Eventually, he was rejoined by his beloved, and lived out his like with the beautiful Xi Shi in obscurity.
Xi Shi is seen as a woman-hero of ancient China, and not a villain that caused the downfall of a Kingdom.
She was certainly an empowered woman, but perhaps not in exactly in the way that we imagine that women become empowered in our modern world.
The artist's name is Wang Jian-Qiu. The artist lives in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province in Northern China (about 5 hours south of Beijing). I was introduced to this artist's work at Qin Xia's studio in Jinan. This artist has been a long time friend of Qin Xia (You may recognize Qin Xia's name from artwork in our flowers and birds category).
This is a elaborate style painting using special black Chinese ink and watercolor on rice paper. After buying this art from the artist, it was mounted to a hand-made silk scroll.
This item was listed or modified
Nov 11th, 2012
Gary's random little things about China:
Everyone is going to hate me for this, but here is the truth:
Some people who currently prefer to call themselves "Asian-Americans" woke up one morning and decided that "Oriental" is now a word to be used only for Oriental rugs, Oriental art and lamps, or any other inanimate object from Eastern Asia.
When I was teaching English in China, many of my students would refer to themselves as "Oriental", and I would correct them and say, It's better to say that you are Asian or Chinese rather than Oriental, but I was at a loss as to explain why.
My Chinese students were very smart, and came back at me with the fact that being from Asia was too broad a term, and asked if Persians and Saudi Arabians should also refer to themselves as "Asian".
I then had to make excuses for my geographically-challenged fellow Americans* who had long ago replaced the correct term of "Oriental" (meaning the bio-geographic region including southern Asia and the Malay Archipelago as far as the Philippines, Borneo and Java), and replaced it with "Asian" which in truth encompasses half the world's population - many of whom do not consider themselves to be of the same race as those from the Orient.
(For those Americans reading this and who've slept through their high school geography class: It's true, the whole Middle East, and half of Russia are located in the Asian continent)
But I admit I am not helping the problem. You see, almost half the people that find our website did so while searching for "Asian art" and I have done a lot to promote our business as "Purveyors of Asian art". So you can blame me too.
To truly be an Asian art gallery, we would have to offer artwork from beyond the Orient, from places like India, Persia (Iran), most Arab nations, and Russia.
There are a lot of things that present problems in the English language.
Usually these problems are thanks to mistakes of the past.
That's why we have to say, "He's an Indian from India" versus "He's a Native-American Indian" (Thanks to Mr. Columbus).
Things to learn:
Do not refer to a Persian (Iranian) as Arab.
If you refer to an Arab-American as being Asian, they will look at you funny and possibly be offended.
If you refer to a person from India as Asian, you will mildly amuse them.
If you refer to a Russian as being Asian, they will pour borsch on you (my ex-wife is Russian, so I know this to be true from experience).
Using "Asian" to refer to a person from Singapore is okay, but they will later, as if by accident, mention that they are in fact from the most civilized country in Asia.
*We citizens of the USA call ourselves "Americans" which seems a bit arrogant to our neighbors who reside on the continents of North and South America. Keep in mind, Canadians and Mexicans are also from North America, but refer to themselves in more correct geographic terms.