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painting / banner / 繪畫 / 幡

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1928,1022,0.203

  • Description

    Funerary banner depicting the mythical ancestors of the human race, Fu Xi and Nu Wa, with their serpentine bodies entwined, and the sun and the moon encircled by stars at the top and bottom. Fu Xi is holding a ruler while Nu Wa is holding what appears to be a compass. Brightly coloured against blue background. Painted in Ink and colours on silk.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 6thC-7thC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 216 centimetres
    • Width: 91.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Funerary banners of silk or hemp cloth depicting the mythical forbears of the human race, Fu Xi and Nu Wa, with their serpentine bodies entwined, are a characteristic feature of the furnishings of the tombs from the early sixth to the mid-seventh century in the cemetery at Astana, and have been found in some numbers (cf. Wenwu, 1972/1, p. 23). They have been studied in detail by Aki Uyeno (1974). Some, like the funerary banners of the Western Han dynasty found at Mawangdui near Changsha, are T-shaped, with extra half-widths of silk sewn on at the top of the painting to accommodate the upper bodies of the couple; sometimes, as with the present example, these side pieces are simply wider at the top and taper gradually towards the bottom. Here the main piece of silk is 47.5 cm wide and the side pieces taper from about 22 cm to about 13 cm.
    All of the banners are similar in iconography, but they do present a number of minor differences. The present instance is unusual in that Nu Wa is on the right, in the place usually taken by Fu Xi. She holds what appears to be a compass, and he the set-square ruled with divisions in white. The thumb and clenched fingers of Fu Xi’s right hand, and of the left hand of Nu Wa, can each be seen at the nape of the neck of the other. Between the attributes there is a sun disc surrounded by a ring of stars. In other versions the sun disc bears a bird instead of radiating lines, or the ring of stars may be missing. Other stars, often linked by lines into constellations, generally appear down the sides of the banner. Here they are separate white spots, liberally scattered wherever there is room around the figures. Fu Xi and Nu Wa appear to share the same coat and short pleated tunic, but only the outline of the tunic and its long sleeves can be seen, the colour having evidently damaged the silk beneath it. Below the skirt, their serpentine bodies are closely entwined above the moon, which is depicted in exactly the same way as the sun above, without any distinction even in colour. Other banners, however, show this lower disc clearly as the moon by its white colour. There is much variation, to, in the number of times the bodies intertwine-here three times, but in other cases only once or twice.繪著想象中的神格化的蛇身纏繞的伏羲女媧的絹或麻布的幡,在6世紀初至7世紀中葉間的阿斯塔那,是葬禮時作爲墓室裝飾用的獨特的物品,相同的作品還有大量的發現(參照《文物》1972/1,23頁),Aki Uyeno(上野アキ)有詳述的論述(參照《美術研究》,1974,Nos.292、293)。長沙近郊馬王堆發現的西漢帛畫,也有同樣的T型的作品,但它只是因下方兩旁的絹已脫落而偶然造成一致的,原來是如本圖中所見的那樣,上端寬,下方逐漸狹窄的形狀。那是因爲,中央是用一整幅的絹,其左右拼接的是斜裁的絹,並將寬的一端接在上面。本圖中央的絹寬47.5釐米,兩側的絹上邊約22釐米,下邊約13釐米。
    畫面結構基本相同,細部表現則各有異,例如女媧本應在右邊,而伏羲通常在這個位置。女媧舉著类似圆规的物品,伏羲舉白色有刻度的曲尺。伏羲右手和女媧左手,握拳的手指分別在彼此的脖頸後露出。兩者間配有星圈環繞的日輪,有的作品則繪鳥來代替日輪放射線,有的則不繪星輪。除了環繞日輪的星星外,畫面兩側還有許多星星,大多時候,它們被線連接起來成星座狀。但在這裏,白色小圓狀的星星,七零八落散佈在畫像周圍的空間裏。伏羲和女媧共用上衣和有褶子的束腰短裙,上衣部分由於上彩使用的顔料有腐蝕作用,絹已損壞,肩和長袖部分的輪廓線也是勉強殘留。裙子下有相互纏繞的蛇身,其下方繪有月輪,與上方的日輪完全相同,顔色上也很難區別。其他作品中,下方的圓盤是白色的,可明顯看出應該是月亮。另外,蛇身的纏繞回數也各不相同,本圖中的是三回,也有一回或兩回的情況。

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  • Bibliography

    • Stein 1928 p.697 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1985 pl.86 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1928

  • Acquisition notes

    This piece previously had no BM number (only a Stein Ast. number). It was included with the paintings for the Stein I project and therefore given a 1919.0101 number. It was most likely brought back in 1928 with the rest of the Astana material.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1928,1022,0.203

  • Additional IDs

    • Ast.v.1.02 (Stein no.)
Ast.v.1.02 Front  Funerary banner depicting the mythical ancestors of the human race, Fu Xi and Nu Wa, with their serpentine bodies entwined, and the sun and the moon encircled by stars at the top and bottom.. Fu Xi is holding a ruler while Nu Wa is holding a pair of scissors. Brightly coloured against blue background. Painted in Ink and colours on silk.

Front:Top

Ast.v.1.02 Front Funerary banner depicting the mythical ancestors of the human race, Fu Xi and Nu Wa, with their serpentine bodies entwined, and the sun and the moon encircled by stars at the top and bottom.. Fu Xi is holding a ruler while Nu Wa is holding a pair of scissors. Brightly coloured against blue background. Painted in Ink and colours on silk.

Image description

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