The Nine Songs of Qu Yuan

Full Title: 
九歌圖畫書卷; The Nine Songs of Qu Yuan
Ink and color on silk
24.7 cm (height) x 608.5 cm (length)
According to textual records, the Nine Songs, written by Qu Yuan, were first illustrated as paintings by the Northern Song dynasty literati painter Li Gonglin (1049-1106) and the theme has been popular in painting since then often following the model of Li Gonglin and his line drawing technique. The current scroll, however, is executed in color and thus belongs to a different tradition. Scholars have pointed out similarities in style and composition with Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) Daoist temple murals in Northern China, such as at Yongle Gong (Monastery of Eternal Joy). In addition, a prominent part of the scroll, is written in an archaic script (seal script or zhuanshu) that was in use during the time that Qu Yuan lived.
Repository Accession Number: 
Archibald Cary Coolidge Fund
Description Source: 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston;
Scrolls Project ID: 
728 358