Emperor Xuanzong's Flight to Shu

Unidentified artist

Not on view

In 745, after thirty-three years of able rule, the Tang emperor Xuanzong (r. 712–56) fell in love with the concubine Yang Guifei and became indifferent to his duties. When Yang’s favorite general, An Lushan, rebelled in 755, she was blamed. Forced to flee from the capital at Xi’an to the safety of Shu (Sichuan Province), the emperor was confronted by mutinous troops demanding the execution of his lover. Reluctantly assenting, Xuanzong looked on in horror and shame and abdicated soon after. This painting depicts the somber imperial entourage after the execution. While the accoutrements of the figures are Tang, the painting's landscape style of intricately described volumetric forms and mist-suffused atmosphere suggests a mid-twelfth century date.

#7336. Emperor Xuanzong's Flight to Shu, Part 1



  1. 7336. Emperor Xuanzong's Flight to Shu, Part 1
  2. 7336. Emperor Xuanzong's Flight to Shu, Part 2
Emperor Xuanzong's Flight to Shu, Unidentified artist Chinese, active mid-12th century, Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk, China

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