from legendary general, to Beyond - Avery McFarland

This gallery is an ode to the legendary figure in Chinese lore and myth, Guan Yu. A general during the epic that was the war of the Three Kingdoms, Guan Yu eventually was immortalized into Chinese mythology as a celestial being. Following multiple mediums, this gallery will also show depictions of the aftermath of Guan Yu’s actions.

This piece of art serves as a visual intro for the figure that was, and is, Guan Yu, depicted traditionally and with his supposed weapon of choice, a guan dao, or glaive. Like the theme of this gallery, he is the emphasis and focus of this piece. The colors details of his intricate clothing, offer a sense of unity, and as stated before, depicts what one could say is the traditional aesthetic of the figure.
Depicted in a different art style and aesthetic, this piece also focuses Guan Yu. He is seen sitting stroking his fabled beard. The colors used offer a different aesthetic than the traditional myth, and rather point out a younger or more seemingly intelligent version of the figure. A general, rather than a warrior.
Guan Yu, once again the focus of the portrait, sits on an elegant chair, appearing powerful. This depiction is likely the one with the most contrast in colors. The setting is darker, where as his clothing is a bright golden shade. The clothes themselves feature an elegant repetitive pattern, similar to the previous depictions in this gallery.
This woodblock print serves as a medium to compare Guan Yu to that of a creature in the chinese zodiac. Specifically, he is compared to the goat. Being the center focus of this work, this depiction shows the general in a more stern and studious look. Also, as if to emphasis not only Guan Yu, but the comparison of him and the goat, the color of his outfit is the same as the goat’s fur.
This painting depicts Guan Yu traveling on horse through a mountain pass. This is also the first depiction of Guan Yu in which there are other humanoid figures besides himself. However, being the only figure on a horse, Guan Yu is shown to be more powerful than the other men in this piece, the focus. Not only is he facing towards the other men, the other men face and even look up to him, literally.
Painted on a hanging scroll, this work is the first in this gallery to not solely feature Guan Yu. He is depicted in the scene however, adorning his traditional green clothed aesthetic. This piece is a representation of a scene from The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms, record of a war in China that evolved into a mythological legend of sorts. The proportion of Zhuge Liang, the man in white, along with his house, make him out to be the focus rather than the three visitors.
Crafted into silk, this work depicts both Guan Yu, identifiable by his facial hair, and Zhou Cang at a table. Based on the Zhou Cang’s attire, it’s safe to assume that Guan Yu, a general, was likely dealing with militaristic matters. This piece is rather interesting as a whole simply due to the coloring. The primary use of darker colors, contrasted to the brighter whites and greens, bring a unity to the piece.
Depicting Guan Yu, Wenchang, and the Chinese mythological being Kuixing, this silk piece likely holds the most mythological meaning in this gallery. These three figures, shown larger than the others in this work, are the focus. They are likely shown this way to emphasis their importance. The positions of Guan Yu and Wenchang create this imperfect symmetry or balance of sorts, making them and those near them be seen as equals.
Rather than depicting Guan Yu when he was mortal, this piece which was sculpted into soapstone, depicts the figure of Guandi instead. Guandi is one of the many ways of saying Guan Yu’s being, after he was immortalized as a figure of Chinese mythology. Guandi’s ornate and intricate clothing and headpiece grab the viewer’s attention, and emphasize his appearance.
Due to his efforts, even the descendants of Guan Yu are inscribed into Chinese legend and lore. Although not achieving the same mythological status as Guan Yu, Guan Sheng, who is depicted in this piece of fossilized wood, is revered. This work creates a sense of movement through Guan Sheng’s robes, which show the illusion of wind.
Credits: All media
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