United by Music

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.

Date:

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

Artist:

Artist unknown
Chinese
Traditionally attributed to Zhou Wenju (10th century)

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.

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Asian Art

Artist

Zhou Wenju

Title

United by Music

Origin

China

Date

1401–1425

Medium

Handscroll; ink and colors on silk

Dimensions

41.9 × 184.2 cm

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment Fund

Reference Number

1950.1370

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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