Henan Museum
Mural painting of Four Supernatural Beings Surrounded by Clouds
Edit: Gp
Time: 2023-04-14 11:04:00
Period: Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.- A.D.25)
Provenance: Excavated from the King Gongwang mausoleum of Liang state at Baoanshan, Yongcheng city
Measurements: Length550cm, Width350cm

The tomb occupant of the tomb was identified to be Liu Mai, Prince Gong of the Liang state, the son of Liu Wu, King Xiao of the Liang state, and the nephew of Emperor Jing of the Western Han dynasty. The mural was painted on the ceiling of the tomb chamber, displaying the tomb occupant’s wishes and ambitions of accession to godhood on the dragon. Against the vermilion setting, a giant writhing flying dragon raises its head, a long-tailed, wing-spread divine vermilion bird holds the dragon’s deer-shaped horn, with its tail connected with the auspicious clouds; underneath the giant dragon is a clambering white tiger, standing on the cloud, seems to fly. The dragon, with its mouth open, tongue sticking out, wraps around a mythical beast with a bird’s head and fish’s body. The mural was decorated with clouds and flowers which symbolized the immense universe, with the clouds and lines crossing the Bi discs as the frames.

This mural of Four Spirits ascending to heaven is luxuriantly coloured, with fluid and lively lines. the main subjects of the composition are clearly discernable, with the characteristic features and qualities of all the spirits depicted through exaggerated and stylised workmanship. This expansive mural is a highly accomplished painting, of great historic and artistic value.