Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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The Hero's Happy Encounter

  • Description

    Chen Chongguang, also known as Ruomu, is a painter and poet from Yangzhou, Jiangsu province who strictly follows the traditional style of Chinese painting. His use of calligraphic paint strokes is particularly evident on the clothes of the three heroes in this painting.

    Depicted in this painting are three legendary figures that played key roles in the establishment of the powerful Tang Empire (AD 618-907). According to the story, Qiuranke (the Knight of Big Beard) (left) wanted to take over the throne in the chaos of war. He then met Hongfunü (Lady of Red Horsetail-Whisk) (right) and her husband Li Jing (centre). Hongfunü, who excelled at kung fu, had left her former master and eloped with Li, in whom she saw political talent. Through this couple, Qiuranke got to meet Li Shimin (AD 599-649), who he immediately recognized as the ‘Son of Heaven’. Qiuranke therefore gave up his ambition and left all his fortune to the couple to support Li Shimin, who eventually became one of the greatest emperors in history, Emperor Taizong (r. AD 627-649). This Tang legend, revised to show the legitimacy of the dynasty, has since been adapted into dramas, martial novels and movies.

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaChinaJiangsu province Yangzhou (place of creation)
    Chen Chongguang (1839 - 1896) (artist)
    Associated people
    Li Jing (AD 571 - 649) (subject)
    Material and technique
    ink and colour on paper
    mount 220 x 62 cm (height x width)
    painting 127 x 52 cm (height x width)
    along roller 70 cm (length)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Purchased, 1966.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Vainker, Shelagh, Chinese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2000), no. 4 on p. 26, illus. p. 27 fig. 4

Past Exhibition

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    • currently in research collection

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