The Lantern Night Excursion of Zhong Kui


late 1200s–early 1300s

Yan Hui 顏輝

(Chinese, active 1270–1310)
Image: 24.8 x 240.3 cm (9 3/4 x 94 5/8 in.); Overall: 25.7 x 904.4 cm (10 1/8 x 356 1/16 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Zhong Kui was an ancient ghostbuster.


Here, the demon queller Zhong Kui leads a nightly procession of street entertainers with bare, muscular bodies and demonic faces. Some wear shabby clothes, and all perform stunts and tricks to astound and scare the viewer. In fact, a New Year custom in cities of southeast China had the poor, disguised as demons, process through the streets and play their tricks to clear households of evil spirits and welcome the spring.

From right to left, a demonic figure leads the procession and beats a drum; another lifts a large rock; one stands on his hands trying to drink; one balances a jar on his elbow; three hold and wield weapons; one carries a folded chair covered by a cow’s skin; another holds Zhong Kui’s qin (zither), books, brush, and inkstone. At the end of the scroll, two figures offer a cup and bottle of wine to Zhong Kui, who lifts his hand in command.
The Lantern Night Excursion of Zhong Kui

The Lantern Night Excursion of Zhong Kui

late 1200s–early 1300s

Yan Hui

(Chinese, active 1270–1310)
China, Yuan dynasty (1271-1368)

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