Series: The Royal Collection of Imperial China
Artist: Zhou Fang
Period: Tang Dynasty (618–907)
Dimensions: 101 × 22 cm
(Collected by the Liaoning Provincial Museum)
Ink and color on silk; length 46 cm, width 180 cm
This painting depicts court ladies in a quiet and spacious garden, living a playful, extravagant life. It is a magnificent Tang Dynasty Palace scroll painting. The women’s full and round forms are decked out in a variety of costumes, with their hair in buns perched high on their heads, adorned with fresh flowers. Their movements are leisurely. They flap butterflies, play with dogs, admire cranes, or simply sit idly. Their maids follow them with fans.
Zhou Fang, also known by the courtesy name Zhong Lang, lived in Jingxuan, Jingzhao (present day Xi’an, Shaanxi Province). He was a painter of the Tang Dynasty. Born into a noble family, he served as an offical in Yuezhou and later Xuanzhou. He was good at copying and calligraphy. He painted figures and images of the Buddha, but was especially skilled at painting noble women. His figures were full-bodied and dignified, employing colors that were soft and beautiful. His painting was particularly favored by the court’s scholar-bureaucrats. His portrait paintings were known for their divine appearance, and he painted excellent horses, birds, animals, and plants.