Portrait of Zhu Guan, from the set Five Old Men of Suiyang Artist: Unknown

before 1056

Asian Art

Not on view

Sometime in the early 1050s, five portraits were painted to commemorate the lives of five scholar-officials who had all reached old age and retired to live in Suiyang. Du Yan, who had attained the rank of prime minister, the highest rank among the five, was just eighty; he retired in 1051. Zhu Guan, shown here, a native of Suiyang, had risen to be the Director of the Ministry of War; he was eighty-eight. Each portrait showed considerable attention to facial detail, and the figures were depicted in a formal standing pose, indicative of each man's virtue, and wearing informal robes and scholar's hats. The portraits and the colophons that made up the original scroll are now divided among several museums. The colophons range from 1056 to 1898 making the Five Old Men of Suiyang one of the most extensively documented paintings in the history of art.


Album leaf: ink and color on silk


without mounting: 15 7/8 × 12 11/16 in. (40.3 × 32.2 cm)
with mounting: 24 × 18 7/8 in. (61 × 47.9 cm)

Credit Line

Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore

Accession Number



Northern Song dynasty (960–1127)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Mrs. William H. Moore (1858–1955), New York, to 1953; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • David Ake Sensabaugh, The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2004), 24–25, 44, no. 38, fig. 16.
  • Wen Fong, Beyond representation: Chinese painting and Calligraphy, 8th–14th Century (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), 44–46, 68, pl. 7, notes 42–48.
  • Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 296, ill.
  • Mimi Gardner Gates, The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New York: China House Gallery, 1982), 97–98, no. 43, ill.
  • Lin-ts'an Li, National Palace Museum Bulletin, 8 (Taipei, Tawian: National Palace Museum, 1973).
  • Mu Du, Tie wang shan hu, Chu ban (Taipei, Taiwan: Guo li zhong yang tu shu guan, 1970), 1.
  • George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1970), 44–45, no. 68, ill.
  • F.S. Kwen, Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient and Genuine Chinese Paintings (Shanghai: Laiyuan Company, 1916), no. 60.
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

human figures (visual works), portraits


Suiyang shi jia; seal of Edward Small Moore in lower-right corner

Technical metadata and APIs


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