Handscroll, ink and color on silk
Overall: 36.2 x 454.4 cm (14 1/4 x 178 7/8 in.)
Gift of I. Theodore Kahn 1954.369
This handscroll illustrates the pursuits of court ladies in a palace precinct on a spring day. Women, young girls, and their maids amuse themselves by sitting on a swing, playing games, watering and admiring peonies, performing music together, playing the qin (zither), feeding a parrot on the balustrade and fish in the water, or catching butterflies. The life of elite women was mostly restricted to the so-called inner quarters, meaning the garden and inner courts of the house. This painting idealizes the world of young palace girls that in fact was often filled with boredom and waiting for a lover.
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