VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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The Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies
ChP 1 (1903.4-8.01)
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This is an eighth-century copy of the earliest and finest painting attributed toGu Kaizhi (about 345-406). It illustrates a political parody written by Zhang Hua (about AD 232-300). The parody takes a moralizing tone, attacking the excessive behaviour of an empress. The protagonist is the court instructress who guides the ladies of the Imperial harem on correct behaviour. In total, nine scenes were depicted on this scroll, but it is now incomplete; the first two scenes are missing, as well as the text to the first scene.

History of the Object
Before its arrival at The British Museum in 1903, the scroll passed through many hands. The history of the painting can be ascertained through the seals and inscriptions, beginning with the eighth-century seal of the Hongwen guan, a division of the Han-lin Academy. The painting was subsequently in the collections of well-known connoisseurs who added their own seals and inscriptions, before ending up in the Imperial collection during the reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736-96).

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Type
Painting 
Materials
silk 
Measurements
Height 25 cm  
Creator name
Attributed to Gu Kaizhi 
Creator date
about 345-406 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
AD 6th century ~ AD 8th century 
Creation date
6th Century - 8th Century 
Function
Painting 
Acquisition
Purchased from Capt C Johnson in 1903. 
Copyright
Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
British Museum 
Museum
Virtual Museum of the Chinese masterpieces 
Credit line
 

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