General Guan Yu

    SKU: brimus191

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    About

    General Guan Yu (d. AD 219) was famous for his martial abilities, his loyalty and his wisdom. He is one of the heroes of the sixteenth-century novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi yanyi), which focuses on the Chinese civil wars between AD 180 and 280. In the seventeenth century he received the honorific title of ‘emperor’ (di) and became known as Guan Di. He would be honoured as the god of war and as a god of wealth, as well as serving as a god of trade.1 In the print he wears armour and a spiked helmet, carries a long-handled axe and seems about to remove an arrow from its quiver. His red face is indicative of his stalwart military character. With its emphasis on armed might, the print might have been posted on a door to protect a house. The hooked line at the outer edges of the figure’s eyes and his wispy curved moustache are dimly echoed in a few nineteenth-century and later prints from Mianzhu in Sichuan.2 This image may be a rare survivor of eighteenth-century Mianzhu print style.

    Specification

    Details: General Guan Yu, woodblock print on paper, Qing dynasty, early 18th century, Mianzhu, China. (c) The Trustees of the British Museum

    Paper prints are framed with high grade Perspex (Plexiglas).

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