Three figures and  upon an ancient scroll.

Past exhibition

14 October 2019 – 24 November 2019

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This masterpiece of early Chinese figure painting, due to conservation precautions, can only be displayed for six weeks a year. Painted in the fifth to seventh century AD, it was once part of the collection of the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736–1795).

A handscroll painting in nine scenes (originally 12), the Admonitions Scroll depicts the Nüshi zhen 女史 ('Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies'), a poetic text composed by writer, poet and politician, Zhang Hua (c. AD 232–300). The scroll also carries inscriptions by later collectors including the Qianlong emperor.

Also on display was Zou Yigui's (1686–1766) Pine, Bamboo, Rock and Spring that was once mounted with the Admonitions Scroll, as well as Wen Zhengming's (1470–1559) Wintry Trees and a 14th-century painting Reading in the Reflection of the Snow, signed Sheng Mou (active c. 1310–1360), recently conserved by the British Museum's Hirayama Studio.