Anonymous (19th century)
Guo Ziyi's Banquet
Eight-panel screen; ink and color on silk
50 3/8 x 151 5/8in. (128 x 385cm.)

Lot Essay

Guo Ziyi (697-781) was a Chinese general who loyally and tirelessly served four successive Tang-dynasty emperors. Had it not been for the general's military and diplomatic skills the Tang empire may have collapsed. For thirty years he was able to suppress almost constant internal revolts and to keep at bay the nomads who threatened China's northern and western borders by playing one tribe against another.

For his successes, General Guo was awarded the rank of Prince by Emperor Ming Huang and lived in comfortable retirement until his death at the age of eighty-four. He came to personify the ideal Confucian official, selflessly serving his superiors and enjoying the rewards bestowed upon him in a contented old age.

The Guo Ziyi model symbolized the Confucian ideals of the Joseon court. Screen paintings illustrating themes from his life delivered a didactic message and emphasized the Joseon admiration for and imitation of Ming imagery.

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