Sleeve Bands for a Chinese Woman’s Informal Coat: Cai Wenji Returning to China and Wang Zhaojun Departs for the Frontier

Sleeve Bands for a Chinese Woman’s Informal Coat: Cai Wenji Returning to China and Wang Zhaojun Departs for the Frontier

1875-1899
Country
China
band, sleeve
Silk and metal thread embroidery on silk
Neusteter Textile Collection: Gift of James P. Grant and Betty Grant Austin
1977.466.1
. Sleeve Bands for a Chinese Woman’s Informal Coat: Cai Wenji Returning to China and Wang Zhaojun Departs for the Frontier. 1875-1899. Silk and metal thread embroidery on silk. Neusteter Textile Collection: Gift of James P. Grant and Betty Grant Austin. 1977.466.1.
Dimensions
length: 40 in, 101.6000 cm; width: 4 1/4 in, 10.7950 cm
Department
Textile Art and Fashion
Collection
Textile Art and Fashion-Asian
Two Han dynasty ladies, Cai Wenji (177-250AD) and Wang Zhaojun (1st c. B.C) were married to Xiongnu, or Barbarians. Wenji was kidnapped and taken to the Mongolian steppe where she was forced to marry a king. She is shown in a tent with one of her two sons. The man dressed as a Manchu gentleman portrays her husband, who agreed to let her return to China but would not allow his sons to go. Wang Zhaojun, an imperial concubine, volunteered to marry a Xiongnu lord as a political bride. She carries her stringed pipa and rides a white horse. Both stories inspired Chinese operas.
Known Provenance
Inherited 1973 by Mr. James P. Grant and Mrs. Betty Grant Austin [Denver, CO, 1922-1995 and 1920-2006]; gifted December 1977 by Mr. James Grant and Mrs. Betty Grant Austin to the Denver Art Museum
Exhibition History
  • "Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China's Last Dynasty," October 30, 2011 - January 29, 2012 (DAM)
  • "Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China's Last Dynasty," Februrary 7 - May 18, 2014 (Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH)