The Palace Museum’s new app brings ancient painting ‘Night revels of Han Xizai’ to life

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-1-13 19:48:01

A section from Night Revels of Han Xizai Photo: Courtesy of the Palace Museum

Among all the paintings collected at the Palace Museum in Beijing's Forbidden City, Night Revels of Han Xizai from the Five Dynasties and Ten States period (907-979) is one of the most famous paintings in Chinese art history.

Painted on a long scroll, the work depicts one of the chancellor of the Southern Tang (937-975) Han Xizai's family banquets.

The vivid portrayal of the figures in the painting as well as the exquisite techniques used by artist Gu Hongzhong make the scroll an invaluable resource for research into China's art history.

However, given the age of the work, special measures must be taken to preserve it for future generations, which means that very few visitors will ever have the opportunity to view the painting for themselves.

The museum's solution to this problem has been to release a digital version of Night Revels of Han Xizai as part of a free app on the Apple store.

Featuring a high resolution picture of the painting as well as more than 100 notes of additional academic commentary worked into the app's interactive design, the app gives art lovers a chance to get closer than ever to this ancient work of art.

The app also features 18 audio-visual clips that bring parts of the painting to life, such as having performers from the Taiwanese classic music and dance troupe Hantang Yuefu recreate the dances depicted at the banquet.

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