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Nüshizhen 女史箴

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Nüshizhen 女史箴 "Admonitions to the court ladies", known as the "Admonitions Scroll", is an educational text with moral prescriptions compiled by Zhang Hua 張華 (232-300) during the early Jin period 晉 (265-420). The text is most famous in its illustrated shape in the horizontal scroll Nüshizhen tu juan 女史箴圖卷 painted by Gu Kaizhi 顧愷之 (c. 346-c. 407). It demonstrated the ideal behaviour of females with the help of ancient stories. Of the original 11 illustrations of the scroll, only nine are preserved. The received painting, going back to a Tang period 唐 (618-907) copy of the original, was in 1900 robbed by the British army and brought to London, where it is today kept by the British Museum.
The text is also known from a calligraphy written by Zhao Ji 趙佶 (i.e. Emperor Huizong 宋徽宗, r. 1100-1125, of the Song dynasty 宋, 960-1279) and Xiang Yuanbian 項元汴 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644). The painting of Gu Kaizhi is mentioned in quite a few ancient books on painting, like Huashi 畫史, Xuanhe huapu 宣和畫譜, Qinghe shuhua fang 清河書畫舫, Nigulu 妮古錄, Shigutang shuhua huikao 式古堂書畫彙考, Daguanlu 大觀錄, Peiwenzhai shuhua pu 佩文齋書畫譜, Molu huiguan 墨綠彙觀 or Shiqu baoji 石渠寶笈.
Another surviving Nüshizhen text was compiled by Pei Wei 裴頠 (267-300). Longer than this one, but shorter then Zhang Hua's Nüshizhen is Huangfu Gui's 皇甫規 (104-174) Nüshizhen 女師箴 from the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE).
A translation of Zhang Hua’s text can be found in Shane McCausland (2003), First Masterpiece of Chinese Painting: The Admonitions Scroll (London: British Museum Press).

Sources: Chen Ying 陳瑛, Xu Qixian 許啟賢 (ed. 1989), Zhongguo lunli da cidian 中國倫理大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), p. 47. ● Shan Guoqiang 單國強 (1993), "Gu Kaizhi Nüshizhen tu juan 顧愷之《女史箴圖》卷", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Wenwu bowuguan 文物•博物館 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), p. 194. ● Beijing dongfang shoucangjia xiehui 北京東方收藏家協會 (ed. 1996), Zhonghua shoucang da cidian 中華收藏大辭典 (Beijing: Beijing yanshan chubanshe), p. 38.

May 26, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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