The Newsletter 59 Spring 2012

A Chinese scroll through time

Lucien van Valen

Lee, De-Nin D. 2010. The Night Banquet: a Chinese scroll through time. University of Washington Press, 172 pp. hardcover, ISBN: 9780295990729

The Night Banquet is a tenth century hand scroll attributed to the painter Gu Hongzhong. A well-known statesman Han Xizai [902-970] is the main character, depicted in a number of scenes on this scroll. Han was famous for his parties, as we can read in an imperial painting catalogue from around 1120: “Rumors circulated inside the court and [Southern Tang Emperor Li Yu] regretted not being able to see Han’s famous parties with his own eyes.” The emperor found a solution for his problem, and sent the painter Gu Hongzhong to act as his spy.

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