Chinese screen – 19th century

Panoramic screen.
Painted paper.
Second half of the 19th century.

H. 235 cm - L. of one leaf : 72 cm

This four-leaf folding screen is decorated with hanging wallpaper scrolls depicting a view of ponds and gardens from inside a palace, the sides and upper part decorated with landscape paintings and calligraphic poems.

Hanging scrolls were used as early as the Han Dynasty to display Chinese painting and calligraphy. Intended to be displayed for short periods of time, their structure allows them to be rolled and stored without damage. Indeed, they are composed of a thin wooden rod to which a cord is attached to allow their display.

This folding screen is made up of several painted hanging rolls, this type of assembly is called a panoramic folding screen and made it possible to cover large wall surfaces. In addition, the painting was done on a single large sheet that was cut and mounted, so as to ensure the continuity of the image. This process is called Tongjingping.

The painting of this panoramic follows the rules of construction of hanging scrolls which has been the same since antiquity. The scrolls can be divided into several spaces: the painting, called huaxin, and, above it, a space called shitang, reserved for inscriptions.

The latter were often not made by the artist and consisted of a few verses, complete poems or other inscriptions.

Our screen is decorated with two poems:

Dawn of Spring :
In spring, sleep does not cease at dawn
Everywhere the chirping of birds is heard.
The night finally ends in the breath of the waters,
Who knows how many more flowers will fall?

By Meng Haoran (689 or 691 - 740), a Chinese writer of the Tang Dynasty.

And the Ascent to the Stork Pavilion
The bright sun sets behind the mountain,
The Yellow River is lost in the sea.
If you want to see a thousand lilies further,
You have to go up one more floor.

By Wang Zhihuan (688-742), Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty.


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