Painting: 31.5cm x 99.8cm ≈ 12½" x 39¼"
Silk Scroll: 40.5cm x 157.5cm ≈ 16" x 62"
Width at Wooden Knobs: 49.5cm ≈ 19½"Information about caring for your new Wall Scroll
Close up view of the artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll
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.
More about the beauty depicted on this scroll:
The woman in this painting is known as "Wang Zhao-Jun"
To break down the meaning:
Wang = Her maiden family name
Zhao-Jun = Distinguished (her given name)
History tells us that around 48 B.C. the Emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) sent out servants to find the most beautiful woman in all of China. These women in turn were selected to be the Emperor's concubines/wives.
The Emperor did not want to go through the pageantry of personally looking over each woman before making his selection of which one would accompany him for evening, so he had an artist paint a picture of each woman. This way, he could choose in private, and have the one of his choosing summoned to his chamber.
Legend has it that because Zhao-Jun was an honest woman, she did not bribe the painter as the other concubines did. So, being snubbed by the artist, her portrait was not as attractive as the portraits of the other women. She was never summoned to the Emperor's chamber.
Years later in 33 B.C., the Han Emperor needed to make a peace-offering to the Hun King (from what is now called Mongolia). The Hun King demanded to marry a princess of the Han-Chinese Empire if peace was to prevail.
The call went out throughout the palace for a woman willing to live in the "barbarian lands" of Mongolia. Only Zhao-Jun volunteered. She was still known to the emperor only by the less-than flattering painting of her. The Emperor having never seen her in person agreed to the exchange.
In much ceremony and fanfare, Zhao-Jun was given to the Hun King. When the Han Emperor saw her for the first time at the ceremony, he realized that he was giving away the most beautiful woman of his entire court. He was angry, but he could not go back on his word and risk war with the Huns.
Upon the departure of the Hun King and his new wife Zhao-Jun, the Emperor summoned his painter and had him executed (Looks CAN kill, even in art).
Zhao-Jun taught the Hun people how to weave and farm. Previously they had been a clan of warriors and hunters and therefore knew very little of agricultural techniques at the time.
During her life, she gave birth to two girls and a boy, and the king was well-pleased.
Zhao-Jun became a very beloved in the Hun Kingdom. She became a symbol of peace, and because of her, battles ceased between the Huns and Han-Chinese for more than 60 years.
No one is certain what happened to her after the king's death. Some believe that she committed suicide to avoid following the levirate tradition of maintaining the royal bloodline by marrying her own son. Others believe that she married a different heir to the throne born by another woman.
There is still a tomb and memorial in Inner-Mongolia that honors her life and the peace that she brought to the region.
This work was done in Chengdu by Huang Xin'an (Pronounced a little bit like "who-ong shin un") from the Sichuan (Szechwan) Province of China.
After I bought this work in Chengdu, I later returned to Beijing and had it mounted as a traditional hand-made silk scroll in our workshop. This makes a nice, ready-to-hang piece of wonderful hand-painted art.
Huang Xin'an signing some of his work in Chengdu.
I lost track of Huang Xin'an after my last trip to Chengdu. His phone number was out of order, and I was disappointed that I could not contact him to get more of his paintings.
I make the decision to go to Chengdu on my new art-buying trip mostly because of him.
After 15 hours on a slow train, I arrive in Chengdu. I check-in at Sam's Guesthouse (a hangout for backpackers from around the world, and a hostel with reasonably-priced beds). After a much-needed shower, I head out to find Huang Xin'an.
Taxis drive at the speed-of-light in Chengdu (the city boasts over 1000 fatal auto accidents per year), I arrive in no-time at the place I last found Mr. Huang. Sure enough, as I walk down the alley toward his gallery, he sees me and runs out to greet me. I'm really happy to see him, and the feeling is mutual.
I tell him how I came to Chengdu just to buy art from him (after not being able to reach him on the phone). He is so honored that I think he wants to hug me. He offers me a chair, and says he's painted a lot of work over that last 9 months with both me and my customers in mind. I was also honored by this gesture. He shows me a lot of new work in styles that I like.
I spend 2 days with Mr. Huang and we talk about a lot of new ideas and artwork that I think my western customers will like. He offers to close his gallery for a few days, and paint the art that I asked for. So I took a few days to meet and visit other artists in Chengdu. When I return to Mr. Huang's gallery, I am not disappointed. He did such a great job, words can't describe.
This item was listed or modified
Feb 6th, 2012
Gary's random little things about China:
When crossing a street, or merely making your way down the road, there is a certain law of physics that comes into play: When two forces meet, one must yield.
Here is the general yielding scheme in China:
Cars yield to big buses and trucks.
Bicycles and cars mingle and narrowly avoid each other. When push comes to shove, the bicyclist knows he will lose the fight. But the car driver knows that the bicycle will scratch his car when he runs it over, and will only yield on that premise.
Cars will not yield to, but are required to avoid pedestrians. When you hit a pedestrian at low speed, it does very little damage, and unlike a bicycle, will almost never scratch your car. Therefore pedestrians are given a smaller margin.
Note: Regardless of green or red stop lights, it is against the law to come to a complete stop when making a right hand turn in China (no matter how many pedestrians are in the way). The rule is "honk and avoid, then continue on your way".
Motor scooters yield to no one, not even when they are being driven on a pedestrian-filled sidewalk. Motor scooters zip around like they have nothing to lose - this may be true, as smaller motor scooters require no license of any kind and are very cheap.
If you are driving on the wrong side of the road, or going the wrong way on a one-way street, you do not have to yield to anyone, no matter what kind of vehicle you are operating.
Cars will yield (not by choice) to pedestrians crossing the street in numbers greater than 10 (it is best in China to invite 9 of your friends for an outing if you plan to cross a lot of streets).
In lieu of yielding, drivers are required to honk at pedestrians. I swear to God, this is the law! It's a safety issue: If you are passing a pedestrian that is walking on the side of the road, you are required by law to honk at them to let them know you are there.
Note: All streets in Chinese cities, sound like a New York traffic jam 24 hours per day with all this "safety honking".
I have not been able to find a traffic law that states you must yield to ambulances. And in practice, very few drivers do.
When two large vehicles come face to face on a narrow roadway, and neither can pass, neither will yield. They will sit there, honking at each other for a while. After several cars are lined up behind them, they will decide that they should have yielded earlier, and start to back up. This is to the great dismay of all the cars behind them who will honk in unison. This could go on for an hour or more. It ends when a police officer arrives, tells both drivers what idiots they are, issues tickets to both of them, and then systematically makes the situation worse by insisting that all the smaller cars turn around (rather than back up) by making 162-point turns in the small roadway. Eventually, two of the cars will hit each other, for which both drivers will be cited and fined on the spot.