Su Ruolan Weaving a Love-Poem

Anonymous, attributed to Qiu Ying

Anonymous, attributed to Qiu Ying - Su Ruolan Weaving a Love-Poem
Qiu Ying, one of the “four great Ming masters”, specialized in palace scenes, paintings of beautiful ladies and the like. He had many followers and his paintings mostly exist in multiple copies, making it difficult to tell which of them most resembles the master’s original style. This scroll, too, is signed with his name. It depicts the story of 4th century A.D. poetess Su Hui (also known as Su Ruolan). According to Tang legend, she married a man called Dou Tao when she was sixteen years old, but he was soon exiled and married another woman in his new hometown. Su Ruolan wove a silk brocade into a palindrome – a poem unfolding in a circle – which was comprehensible only to her husband. When he read the poem, he was touched by the love and intelligence of his wife, repudiated his second wife and returned to Su Ruolan. The scroll may originally have included “circular poems”, which were part of the colophons before or after the artwork, but they are lost today.
date:
measurements: height 26 cm
width 115,3 cm
material: Ink and colors on silk
technique: Painting
inscription:
inventory number: Vm 542
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art