Silk Painting of Man Riding on Dragon


China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

Unearthed from a Chu tomb near Zidanku (literally "bullet storehouse") of ChangshaCity, Hunan Province, this silk painting was discovered beneath the lid of the coffin, indicating that it was intended asa funeral banner that was expected to guide the soul to the Land of Immortals.

In the middle of the painting is the side view of a man clad in loosely-fitting gown, wearing a tall coronet plus a long sword in the waist. The dainty dresses and accessories indicate that the man was a high-ranking aristocrat, who is deemed as the tomb occupant by many archeologists.

With reins in hand, the man is riding on a giant dragon with a canopy above his head. With its head and tail raised, the dragon features a boat-like body, and strives ahead against the wind.

On top of its tail stands a long-necked auspicious crane, and beneath its body are swimming fish, all were believed to be empowered to guide the deceased to immortality. Ribbons on the canopy and belt of the man drift in the wind, adding to the lofty bearing of the character.

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  • Title: Silk Painting of Man Riding on Dragon
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: -221
  • Provenance: Hunan Provincial Museum
  • Original Source: Hunan Provincial Museum 湖南省博物館
  • Physical format: painting,37.5h x 28w cmnull
  • Medium: ink on silk
  • Dynastic period: The Warring States Period
  • Artist's birth and death date: 475 BC.-221 BC.