Paintings of beautiful ladies by Zhang Daqian (1899-1983, born in Neijiang, Sichuan) can be divided into three stages: 1.Before 1930s, influenced by painters Ren Yi (1840-1896)and Fei Danxu (1802-1850)in late Qing Dynasty, ladies portrayed by Zhang were mostly in slender shapes; 2.During 1930s, Zhang learned from painters in Ming Dynasty such as Tang Yin (1470-1523), Wu Wei (1459-1508) and Chen Hongshou (1599-1652), so ladies he painted become soft but not weak;3. In 1941, Zhang Daqian went to Dunhuang and made many copying of Dunhuang murals in two and a half years, learned figure painting style from the Six Dynasties to Sui and Tang Dynasties, so his paintings began to have obvious change accordingly in shape, line, color and other aspects. This Painting "A Lady Leaning on a Quilt"was created after Zhang’s trip to Dunhuang, so the quilt in this painting has a strong visual attraction and impact. From its colors and patterns, we can see the influence of Dunhuang caisson patterns; the concise and smooth lines outline the beautiful posture of well-shaped lady, arched eyebrows, slimed eyes and small cherry lip highlight oriental feminine features. The painter left some blank space on the figure’s forehead, nose and chin, creating stereo effect on the figure’s face. The black long hair, pink face and sleepy eyes show that the lady is "sleepy"; she folds her arms and leans over the bed-curtains as if she is thinking about something, suggesting that she is "idle". Zhang was very good at capturing female’s facial expression and emotions. Behind the lady there stands a white screen, suggesting that it is a private space, leading people to have unlimited imaginations.


  • Title: A Lady Leaning on a Quilt
  • Creator: Zhang Daqian
  • Date: 1946
  • Provenance: Sichuan Museum
  • Physical format: painting, 117h x 47w cm
  • Medium: colors on paper
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1899-1983

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