Screen with Birthday Celebration for General Guo Ziyi

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period (1736–95)

Date: dated 1777

Culture: China

Medium: Carved red lacquer

Dimensions: Open flat: 84 1/8 in. × 12 ft. 4 in. (213.7 × 375.9 cm)
Open curved: 84 1/8 in. × 11 ft. 3 13/16 in. × 35 7/16 in. (213.7 × 345 × 90 cm)

Classification: Lacquer

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Henry-George J. McNeary, 1971

Accession Number: 1971.74a–h


This lacquer screen shows the bustling activity accompanying a birthday party in a large residential compound. An inscription on the back of the screen indicates that it was made in honor of a certain General Zhen. The image on the screen is an often depicted scene of a celebration in honor of Guo Ziyi (697–781), one of the most famous generals in Chinese history. The use of this particular subject would have been an obvious compliment to General Zhen, and the screen may have been presented to him on an important occasion, perhaps his sixtieth birthday.