Image: 10 1/16 in. x 10 ft. 2 3/4 in. (25.6 x 311.8 cm)
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1933
Not on view
This scene appears in a later copy of a Tang-dynasty painting illustrating the story of a literary legend, Lady Su Hui, who was supposed to have lived in the late fourth century. The dating of the original painting is supported by the types of instruments depicted in it. Both the harp (konghou) and the pipa played with a plectrum disappeared after the Tang.
Front row, left to right: qin, pipa, pipa (played without plectrum), paiban
Back row, left to right: dizi, xiao, sheng, konghou
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signatures (spurious)
Guan Daosheng 管道昇 （1262–1319）
1. 1 column in standard script, undated; 1 illegible seal:
2. 4 columns in standard script, dated 1278; 1 graphic seal:
1. Boyan? 伯顏 (died 1340), 5 columns in standard script, undated:
To the right is Ruolan’s [Sui Hui, active 2nd half 4th c.] verse puzzle, a unique masterwork from past to present. [Zhu] Shuzhen (active ca. 1131) was able to read it with meaningful interpretations. Zhongji [Guan Daosheng, 1262–1319] recorded them, following the changing rhymes. This shows the profound sophistication of the famous ladies from three different times. It should be treasured. Inscribed by Boyan in the Wancui Xuan Studio.
Youqi Jushi’s [Zhu Shuzhen] erudition covered the entire spectrum of the classics. Mindful of crafts as well, she sought out great works neglected by others. She listed her readings of the Verse Puzzle, making their meanings thoroughly clear to the viewers. Without penetrating insight, I surmise, she couldn’t have exuded the pure and harmonious spirit of the universe and enthralled the viewers in awe. Zhao Songxue [Zhao Mengfu, 1254-1322] was quite prolific in creating figure and landscape paintings and calligraphic pieces. Highly talented and respected, he was a scholar-official skilled in the fine arts. Even Su [Shi,] and Mi [Fu,] cannot surpass him. Lady Guan [Daosheng] was renowned at the time. I have often seen her brushed works, which are not inferior to the Duke of Wei’s [Zhao Mengfu]. Upon seeing this fantastic verse puzzle, I feel somewhat abashed. Its vigorous brushwork and well-structured composition has no equal among female artists’ works. The painting to the right is extraordinarily refined and wonderful. I do not think it was painted by Lady Guan alone. Without the collaboration of the Duke of Wei, how could she have created such a long scroll! Later connoisseurs may decide. Tuotuo