Home > Exhibitions > Current Exhibitions > Old Tales Retold: Chinese Narrative Painting

The Shanglin Park: Imperial Hunt. Detail, The Shanglin Park: Imperial Hunt.
Attributed to Qiu Ying (ca. 1494–1552). China, Ming dynasty, mid- to late 16th century. Handscroll; ink and color on silk. Gift of Charles Lang Freer

Old Tales Retold: Chinese Narrative Painting

April 20–October 20, 2013
Freer Gallery of Art

Twenty-three paintings relay lively stories about famous people and events in Chinese history. The primary intent behind many of the paintings was to promote certain Confucian moral principles and ideals. Consequently, these works often focus on individuals who exhibited positive character traits in their lives, such as humility, loyalty, studiousness, or dedication to the greater good, and who are recognized as paragons of virtue or exemplars of ethical behavior. Along the way, viewers meet emperors and kings, officials, scholars, philosophers, and sages, and become acquainted with the particular incidents, acts, or encounters that illustrate their especially admired personal qualities. Many of the stories present unexpected insights into both the particular values espoused by traditional Chinese culture and the universality of human experience.

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.