This is a small portion of a 3-metre wide Chinese colour-ink
painting that depicts a grand party of night banquet and
indoor concert in the tenth century in China.
The masterpiece, one of the numerous artistic
treasures held in the former imperial palace, the Forbidden
City, is divided into five sections, with each setting
separated by a screen and reflecting the activities taken
place in a certain time frame, which creates a sequence
of the complete event.
The first section portraits an opening scene where a solo pipa performer
takes central stage while all the guests listened in hush;
in the following scene, the host Han Xu, a fun-chasing and
work-loathing minister of a short lived tiny kingdom in the
south of the Yangtze River, joins the pipaist by showing
off his drum beating skills and thus becomes the new focus
of the guests’ attention; the next sector sketches a much
relaxed setting when everyone takes a break from their banquet
eating ’n music appreciation assignment, and Han Xu the host
further casually rests in his bed-shaped couch chatting with
the ladies; in the forth sequence, the banquet 'n concert
resume, this time it’s a string ‘n woodwind quartet that
calls the shoots; the event concludes in the fifth section,
when the host and guests and the artists hold a group discussion,
presumably offering the feedback on the food and the music.
One evening in September 2007, this paper-based frozen sequence
came alive when the artists from Taiwan, in the southeast
tip of China, reproduced the scene of the ancient evening
party by the red wall of the Forbidden City, which made their
audience wonder 今夕何夕 (a successful time travel?).
Ruler of Year