A Lady Playing Chess (Weiqi)

Unknownca. 8th century A.D.

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document
Beijing, China

This is a fragment of one group screen painting. Screen painting was common furniture in Tang dynasty. Drawing on screen silk is both practical and beautiful. This painting was unearthed in 1972 in No. 187 tomb in Xinjiang Turpan Astana. The owner of the tomb was an official of Anxi frontier command during Empress Wu Zetian’s rein. The folding screen paintings had been crushed when it was unearthed. After repair, the complete images of eleven women and children were roughly reproduced. In the center of the image, there is a noble lady playing chess, with people surrounding her watching, maids standing by and children playing, etc. It is a meticulously produced and heavy-color genre painting depicting noble women’s life. In this painting, the noble lady has her hair bundled up, with thick eyebrows, red lips and a heart-shaped Floral twinkle on her forehead; she is dressed in scarlet coat and green skirt, with flower and bird patterns on the skirt and a transparent silk tippet over her coat. The jade bracelet on her hand set off her fair skin; both her makeup and costumes show the fashion of Tang dynasty. This painting of lady playing chess is from Xinjiang which was far away from Chang’an (the capital city of Tang dynasty), but the prevalent fashion it reflects is consistent with that in Chang’an. So we could see that the propagation of fashion is not interrupted by long distance.


  • Title: A Lady Playing Chess (Weiqi)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: ca. 8th century A.D.
  • Provenance: Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Museum
  • Physical format: painting, 62.3h x 54.2w cm (24 3/8"h)
  • Medium: ink and colors on silk
  • Dynastic period: Tang Dynasty
  • Artist's birth and death date: unknown

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