Hand Painted
Ships from: USA

 This artwork is
100% hand-painted.

Typical Gallery Price: $110.00



Xi Shi
Most Beautiful Woman in Asian History
Wall Scroll

Xi Shi - Most Beautiful Woman in Asian History - Wall Scroll

Approximate Measurements

Artwork Panel: 30.7cm x 110.3cm  ≈  12" x 43½"

Silk/Brocade: 39.5cm x 166cm  ≈  15½" x 65¼"

Width at Wooden Knobs: 48.5cm  ≈  19"

Information about caring for your wall scroll
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Xi Shi, Fairest Beauty of Ancient China

With looks powerful enough to bring down a kingdom.

About the Four Beauties of China:

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:

Xi Shi - Most Beautiful Woman in Asian History - Wall Scroll close up view

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.

The Story:

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.

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.

Chinese artist Huang Xin'an

Huang Xin'an signing some of his work in Chengdu.

The story behind how I found this art...

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.

Huang Xin-An

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
Apr 9th, 2011

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Gary's random little things about China:

Vehicular and Pedestrian Yielding Quotient

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.

Typical Gallery Price: $110.00



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