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Mu Guiying in a Beijing opera

  • Description

    Mu Guiying is a military heroine from Northern Song dynasty folklore, whose story belongs to the series General Yang’s Clan. In this story, Mu marries a third-generation descendant of General Yang’s family, and serves as a major general in the battles against Northern Song’s neighbours Liao and Xixia. The story General Mu Guiying was adapted in 1959 into Beijing opera to celebrate the People’s Republic’s 10th anniversary. The heroine was played by the famous actor Mei Lanfang, who was possibly the inspiration for this woodcut image. The use of water-soluble ink here is reminiscent of traditional New Year Pictures.

  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia China (place of creation)
    designed 1978
    printed 2006
    Song Guangxun (born 1930) (printmaker)
    Material and technique
    multi-block woodcut, printed with water-soluble ink
    mount 68.6 x 50.8 cm (height x width)
    sheet 42 x 42.7 cm (height x width)
    print 39 x 39.7 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Purchased, 2007.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Weimin He, and Shelagh Vainker, Chinese Prints 1950-2006 in the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2007), no. 48 on p. 57, illus. p. 57

Past Exhibition

see (1)


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • Chinese Prints 1950-2006 in the Ashmolean Museum by Weimin He and Shelagh Vainker

    Chinese Prints 1950-2006 in the Ashmolean Museum

    I like water-soluble ink printing techniques, not only because they embody a national characteristic, but also they require the properties of cutting tool, wood, and charm. There is not other printing technique that can create the effect of water infusing into ink.

    Song Guangxun first studied art at the National Peking Art School in 1947. After graduating from the Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1951, he was appointed as editor of Xinhua Daily and Dazhong Pictorial in Chongqing. He has dedicated many years of his life to the Sichuan Artists’ Association as a professional printmaker. Most of Song’s early work adapted the socialist realist themes that predominated in Chinese art during the 1960s and 1970s. Since the late 1970s, most of his woodcuts are printed with water-soluble ink techniques and are more concerned with traditional Chinese aesthetics.

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