- Provenance information is currently unavailable
The artist's inscription explains that this handscroll depicts the legendary hero Zhong Kui, known as the Demon Queller, setting out on a hunting exhibition with his sister. According to legend, when Emperor Xuanzong (reigned 712-56) fell ill with fever, he dreamt that a small demon broke into the palace. Suddenly, a large man calling himself Zhong Kui appeared, attacked the demon, and devoured it; when the emperor awoke, his illness had miraculously vanished. The emperor summoned a court painter to make a portrait of the figure in his dream, and the painting was distributed throughout the empire as a talisman to expel harmful spirits. By the tenth century, other popular legends and practices began to accrue around the figure of Zhong Kui; for example, he acquired both a wife and younger sister.
In Gong Kai's humorous and imaginative painting, Zhong Kui and his sister are shown riding in sedan chairs. A retinue of slave-demons accompany them and carry Zhong Kui's sword, bundles of household goods, pots of wine, and smaller demons they have captured.
To learn more about this and similar objects, visit http://freersackler.mystagingwebsite.com/SongYuan/default.asp Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy.
- Published References
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- Whitney N. Morgan. Museum Accessions. vol. 11, no. 1 New York, January 1939. pp. 38, 40.
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- Shou-Chien Shih. From Style to Huayi: Ruminating on Chinese Art History. Taipei, Taiwan. pp.254-255, fig. 161.
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
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