Asian Art

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

before 1056

Album leaf: ink and color on silk

without mounting: 15 7/8 x 12 11/16 in. (40.3 x 32.2 cm) with mounting: 24 x 18 7/8 in. (61 x 47.9 cm)
Hobart and Edward Small Moore Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. William H. Moore
1953.27.11
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.
Culture: 
Chinese
Period: 
Northern Song dynasty (960–1279)
Classification: 
Paintings
Geography: 
China
Status: 
Not on view
Bibliography: 

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.

Mu Du, Tie wang shan hu, Chu ban (Taipei, Taiwan: Guo li zhong yang tu shu guan, 1970), 1.

Mimi Gardner Gates, The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New York: China House Gallery, 1982), 97–98, no. 43, ill.

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.

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.

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 such records is ongoing.