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United by Music 合樂圖

A work made of handscroll; ink and colors on silk.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of handscroll; ink and colors on silk.


Ming dynasty (1368–1644), 15th/16th century


Artist unknown (Chinese, 16th century)
Traditionally attributed to Zhou Wenju (10th century) 傳周文矩

About this artwork

This all-female ensemble is an imperial or aristocratic orchestra. Singly or in pairs, the musicians play the large drum, clapper, oboe, vertical flute, transverse flute, hourglass drum, mouth organ, gong-chime, long zither, angular harp, and lute. Such instruments accurately represent those played by the mid- Tang dynasty (eighth century), as known today from surviving artifacts and textural descriptions of the Imperial Conservatory of Music. The audience for this concert strikingly resembles court figures depicted in The Night Revels of Han Xizai, a painting in the Palace Museum, Beijing, attributed to the tenth century painter Gu Hongzhong. Gu Hongzhong was a contemporary of Zhou Wenju, to whom this handscroll was originally ascribed. The artist responsible for this fifteenth-century painting apparently drew upon a number of earlier artistic models, creating a composite image that recalled the work of past centuries.


Currently Off View


Arts of Asia


Zhou Wenju


United by Music 合樂圖


China (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Handscroll; ink and colors on silk


Inscription on Painting: 唐周文矩合樂圖無上神品也  Seal: 緝熙殿寶


41.9 × 184.2 cm (16 1/2 × 72 9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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