The Night Entertainments of Han Xizai: A Scroll by Gu Hongzhong

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9780520252097: The Night Entertainments of Han Xizai: A Scroll by Gu Hongzhong
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In this beautiful and concisely focused book, eminent art historian Michael Sullivan guides the reader through a single masterwork of Chinese art, The Night Entertainments of Han Xizai. Attributed to the artist Gu Hongzhong, this Five Dynasties handscroll portrays the scandalous private life of Han Xizai, senior minister to three "emperors" of the Southern Tang Dynasty in the mid-tenth century. Writing in the engaging style that has become his hallmark, Sullivan recounts the story of the production of this important painting, memorably evoking the mood of the peaceable kingdom in the years before its conquest by the newly established Song Dynasty in 975, a disaster that Han Xizai did not live to see. As the first scholar to include in his discussion nearly all the known versions of this famous scroll, Sullivan powerfully demonstrates how the life of a great painting has often been extended via copies and reinterpretations in later centuries.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Written by a modern master of Chinese art history about a masterpiece of Chinese painting, this study of guilty pleasures long ago pursued in all the wrong ways is now a pleasure to read for the best of reasons."—Jerome Silbergeld, Princeton University

"Among all paintings that have survived from premodern China, The Night Entertainments of Han Xizai has arguably aroused the most fascination. Its collectors, including a number of powerful emperors, have all treasured it, but at the same time have been burdened by its dubious moral implications. Michael Sullivan's lucid text offers a wide audience basic information about this famous and intriguing work."—Wu Hung, University of Chicago

"Michael Sullivan is the acknowledged dean of modern Chinese art studies, and any work bearing his name guarantees both a high level of quality and a wide readership."—Maxwell K. Hearn, Metropolitan Museum of Art

"No other historian of Chinese art today commands such a wide range of knowledge as Michael Sullivan."—Richard Barnhart, Yale University

About the Author:

Michael Sullivan is Fellow Emeritus at St. Catherine's College, Oxford University, and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. His many books include Modern Chinese Artists: A Biographical Dictionary as well as The Arts of China (Fourth edition, revised and expanded), Art and Artists of Twentieth-Century China, and The Meeting of Eastern and Western Art: Revised and Expanded Edition, all from UC Press.

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