VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Fuxi and Nüwa
SN52
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The figures are painted in dark ink outlines and colored in with thick red and white pigment. The background features pictures of the sun, moon and constellations, forming a small cosmos. Though not finely detailed, this work is notable for its clear colors and balanced composition.

History of the Object
This painting depicts Fuxi and Nüwa, the mythical Chinese gods of creation. The upper bodies are human while the lower bodies resemble snakes. Each deity holds a compass and a ruler, symbolic attributes related to the traditional Chinese view of the universe that heaven is round and the earth square. Chinese culture was introduced to the Turpan region at an early date and objects with Chinese themes have often been discovered there. In this painting the subject matter may be Chinese but the faces of Fuxi and Nüwa have the features of Central Asian people.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Hemp 
Measurements
Width 79.0 cm Length 189.0 cm  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
unknown 
Where it was made
Astana, Turpan, Xinjiang, China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 7th century ~ AD 7th century 
Creation date
7th Century 
Function
Painting hung on the ceiling of a tomb chamber 
Acquisition
The object was first found by the Otani(大谷) expedition team, which consisted of Japanese monks and later acquisitioned by Mr. Fusanosuke Kuhara who donated it to the museum of the Japanese colonial government, the predecessor of the National Museum of Korea in 1916. 
Copyright
National Museum of Korea 
Acknowledgements
National Museum of Korea, National Museum of Korea Digital Museum 2.0, Seoul:Cultural Foundation of National Museum of Korea, 2007 
Owner
National Museum of Korea 
Museum
National Museum of Korea 
Credit line
National Museum of Korea 

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