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The Night Revels of Han Xizai

The Night Revels of Han Xizai is one of top ten traditional Chinese paintings. The original painter was Gu hongzhong who served as a court painter for the Southern Tang Emperor Li Yu during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. This painting was the most well-known work of Gu, however, it did not exist any more. The one in Palace Museum now is a 12th century remake.

Background of the night revels of Han Xizai

Han Xizai was born in the north of China. After his father was killed, he surrendered and pledged allegiance to the Southern Tang. As a minister of the suspicious Emperor Li Yu, he was not totally trusted because he was form the North. Therefore, he was very upset in his political life. When Northern Zhou’s soldiers pressed on the border, Li Yu wanted Han to be the Prime minister to solve the big crisis to prove Han’s loyalty. Knowing there was no any chance to escape Northern Zhou’s attack, Han had revels every night. So, Li yu sent two painters Gu Hongzhong and Zhou Wenjv to pry on Han Xizai's private life to see whether Han had ambitions or not.

Story in the night revels of Han Xizai
Undoubtedly, the night revel of Hanxizai is a masterpiece of Chinese narrative paintings. According to the revel time, this painting is split into five distinct sections naturally by folding screens. As with other scrolls, the night revels of Han Xizai is meant to be viewed right-to-left. The painting is approximately 333.5 centimeters long and 28.7 centimeters tall.The whole painting described 46 people; some of them were appeared very frequently. During the revel, Han Xizai always frowns and puts on or takes off his coat for several times.Behind this extravagant and buckish revel, we could know the real complicated feeling of Han Xizai.
The First Section: Han Xizai listens to the pipa.This section includes five women and seven men. The one in red is the  Number One Scholar and the man sitting on the bed is Han Xizai. 
The Second Section: Han Xizai and his guests watch dancers. There, you can see Han take off his black coat and beat a drum for the dancer.
The Third Section:Han Xizai and his guests take a rest.Han puts his black coat on.
The Fourth Section:playing string instruments. Han unties his underclothes.
The Fifth Section: Han Xizai sees guests off. And, here, you could see Han put his yellow coat on.


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