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kyuuraku-zu@{y}
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Ch:gongletu. Lit. Pictures of Pleasures at Court. A broad term referring to paintings of Chinese court ladies, often accompanied by emperors, set against palace architecture. Kyuuraku-zu can be considered one type of Chinese genre painting. The lavish lifestyle of emperors and their female attendants had a long history of representation in Chinese painting, but it was not until the 16c that these themes were painted regularly in Japan, appearing on fans, screens, and even laquer ware. Kyuuraku-zu were one speciality of Kanou school *Kanouha h artists. The majority of kyuuraku-zu are imagined representations of Tang dynasty court life at the time of Xuanzong (Jp: *Gensou @) and his beautiful concubine Yang Guifei (Jp: *Youkihi kM). Themes associated with them include *fuuryuujin-zu w} (Pictures of Elegant Battles), *choukou-zu K} (Pictures of the Butterfly of Happiness), as well as the illustrations of the classic narrative-ode, The Song of Everlasting Sorrow (Ch: Changhenge, Jp: Chougonka ). Because the Changhenge theme is both the oldest and best-known of the kyuuraku-zu subjects, it is thought that the architectural and figural iconography used in other kyuuraku-zu derive from paintings of Changhenge. Paintings of the theme usually show Xuanzong, and often Yang Guifei, surrounded by dozens of court beauties amidst lush palace scenery. An older theme depicts the Epong Palace (Jp: *Aboukyuu [{), the women's quarters at the court of Quinshihuangdi (Jp: Shin Shikoutei `nc, BC 259-210). The influence of kyuuraku-zu can be seen in a number of other painting subjects. Beautiful court ladies appear, in fewer numbers and larger scale, in Edo period imaginary portraits of Chinese beauties, karabijin l and Pictures of Court Princesses, kyuuen-zu {Q}. The palatial settings found in kyuuraku-zu also appear in similar form in *teikan-zu Ӑ} (Illustrated Mirror of Emperors).
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