Gu Kaizhi (simplified Chinese: 顾恺之; traditional Chinese: 顧愷之; pinyin: Gù Kǎizhī; Wade–Giles: Ku K'ai-chih) (c. 344-406), is a celebrated painter of ancient China. His style name was 'Changkang' (长康). He was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu province and first painted at Nanjing in 364. In 366, he became an officer (Da Sima Canjun, 大司馬參軍). Later he was promoted to royal officer (Sanji Changshi, 散騎常侍). He was also a talented poet and calligrapher. He wrote three books about painting theory: On Painting (畫論), Introduction of Famous Paintings of Wei and Jin Dynasties (魏晉勝流畫贊) and Painting Yuntai Mountain (畫雲台山記). He wrote: "In figure paintings the clothes and the appearances were not very important. The eyes were the spirit and the decisive factor." (Wikipedia)
Gu's art is known today through copies of several silk handscroll paintings, especially these four, attributed to him.
The Admonitions of the Instructress
to the Court Ladies
The Nymph of the Lo River
Wise and Benevolent Women
Chopping Qins (Calibrating Qins- Chinese musical instruments)
#1: The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies (女史箴圖)
The Admonitions Scroll is a Chinese narrative painting on silk that is traditionally ascribed to Gu Kaizhi (Chinese: 顧愷之; pinyin: Gù Kǎizhī, ca. 345–ca. 406), but which modern scholarship regards as a 5th to 8th century work that may or may not be a copy of an original Jin Dynasty (265–420) court painting by Gu Kaizhi. The full title of the painting is Admonitions of the Court Instructress (Chinese: 女史箴圖; pinyin: Nǚshǐ Zhēntú). It was painted to illustrate a poetic text written in 292 by the poet-official Zhang Hua 張華 (232–300). The text itself was composed to reprimand Empress Jia 賈后 (257–300) and to provide advice to the women in the imperial court. The painting illustrates this text with scenes depicting anecdotes about exemplary behaviour of historical palace ladies, as well as with more general scenes showing aspects of life as a palace lady.
The painting, which is now held at the British Museum in London, England, is one of the earliest extant examples of a Chinese handscroll painting, and is renowned as one of the most famous Chinese paintings in the world. The painting is first recorded during the latter part of the Northern Song (960–1127), when it was in the collection of Emperor Huizong of Song (r. 1100–1126). It passed through the hands of many collectors over the centuries, many of whom left their seals of ownership on the painting, and it eventually become a treasured possession of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796). In 1899, during the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion, the painting was acquired by an officer in the British Indian Army who sold it to the British Museum. The scroll is incomplete, lacking the first three of the twelve original scenes, which were probably lost at an early date. A monochrome paper scroll copy of the painting, complete in twelve scenes, was made during the Southern Song (1127–1279), and is now in the collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing, China. (Wikipedia)
This painting, dated between the 6th and 8th century AD - probably an early Tang Dynasty copy - illustrates nine stories from a political satire about Empress Jia Nanfeng written by Zhang Hua (ca. 232-302). Beginning in the eighth century, many collectors and emperors left seals, poems, and comments on the scroll. The Admonitions scroll was stored in the emperor's treasure until it was looted by the British army in the Boxer Uprising in 1900. Now it is in the British Museum collection, missing the first three scenes. There is another surviving copy of this painting, made during the Song Dynasty and is now held in the Palace Museum in Beijing. The Song version is complete in twelve scenes. (Wikipedia)
The original version now held in the British Museum.You may need to click on the picture and use the scroll to view complete image. (5503x400 pixels, file size: 1.1 MB )
Song Dynasty version now held in the Palace Museum, Beijing.
Scene 4 of The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies (Song Dynasty version)
You may need to click on the picture and use the scroll to view complete image. (1,322x400 pixels, file size: 225.3 KB )
#2: The Nymph of the Lo River (洛神賦)
A section of Southern Song Copy at Freer Gallery of Art, Washington
Detail of Chinese painting The Nymph of the Lo River, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, 12th century copy of a painting traditionally attributed to the 4th century artist Gu Kaizhi
A section of Southern Song Copy at Palace Museum, Beijing
Nymph of the Luo River, handscroll, ink and colors on silk, 27.1x572.8 cm, Palace Museum, Beijing. A copy of the original painting by Gu Kaizhi from the Southern Song Dynasty.
Nymph of the Luo River is a painting by Gu illustrates a poem written by Cao Zhi (192-232). It survives in three copies dating to the Song Dynasty. One copy is now held in the Palace Museum in Beijing, and another one is now at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C. The third was brought to Manchuria by the last emperor Pu Yi (1906–1967) while he was the puppet emperor of Manchukuo under Japanese rule. When the Japanese surrendered in 1945 the painting disappeared. After ten years the Liaoning Province Museum recovered it. (Wikipedia)