Painting of the Gathering at the Orchid Pavilion during the Spring Purification Festival


This rubbing scroll combines two works: Lanting xu tie (Calligraphy of the preface to the poems composed at the Orchid Pavilion) by Wang Xizhi (321−79), and Liu shang tu (The floating goblets), originally a painting, by the Song artist Li Gonglin (1049−1106). Emperor Qianlong (reigned 1736−95) commissioned this scroll, which was reprinted from the Song rubbing with the missing parts added, based on the fragment of Lanting tu (Illustrations of Lanting) by Zhu Yiyin (1536−1603), Prince Yi of the Ming dynasty. The missing part of the calligraphy of Wang Xizhi’s poems in the Dingwu edition (Dingwu is present-day Zhending County, Hebei Province) was also added, using a Song rubbing in the imperial collection. The stone where Lanting tu was carved originally stood in the imperial garden, Yuanmingyuan, but was destroyed by the allied British and French troops in 1860, during the Second Opium War. However, the rubbings of the stone have been preserved to the present and are now in the collection of the National Library of China. Although this is a Qing Qianlong period copy, created in 1781, the completeness of its texts and refined quality of the rubbing make it superior to the Ming copy. It is considered a great treasure.

Last updated: May 11, 2015