Lady Xuanwen Giving Instruction on the Rites of Zhou



Chen Hongshou 陳洪綬

(Chinese, 1598/99–1652)
Image: 172.8 x 55.7 cm (68 1/16 x 21 15/16 in.); Overall: 293.9 x 71 cm (115 11/16 x 27 15/16 in.); with knobs: 293.9 x 79 cm (115 11/16 x 31 1/8 in.)
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

Chen Hongshou's long inscription at the top of the painting compares his virtuous aunt with the historical exemplar, Lady Xuanwen.


This painting by Chen Hongshou depicts the story of Xuanwen Jun, or Lady of Literary Propagation, at a venerable age, instructing young scholars on the Confucian classics. It was painted for Chen’s aunt in celebration of her 60th birthday.

Chen’s painting style is archaic in the use of fine outlines and brilliant coloring with mineral pigments. In depicting the figures, he uses the “iron-wire” brush style (fine, even lines) with deliberate control. The faces are elongated and exaggerated. A few ritual bronzes lend the scene an antique flavor.
Lady Xuanwen Giving Instruction on the Rites of Zhou

Lady Xuanwen Giving Instruction on the Rites of Zhou


Chen Hongshou

(Chinese, 1598/99–1652)
China, Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.