Chinese Handscrolls: Background information when reading Peach Blossom Spring

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Peach Blossom Spring

A Novel

by Melissa Fu

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu X
Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
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  • Published:
    Mar 2022, 400 pages

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Chinese Handscrolls

This article relates to Peach Blossom Spring

The family at the center of Peach Blossom Spring carries a handscroll with them as they flee their home in the Hunan Province of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The scroll illustrates a fable, the significance of which grows and changes for main character Renshu over the course of his life. The handscroll has been a form of art and narrative storytelling in China since the Spring and Autumn period (770-481 BCE). They were initially made with bamboo or wood, but during and after the Eastern Han period (25-220 CE), silk and paper became the predominant materials used. Earlier handscrolls feature ink drawings and writing, but during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), watercolors became the primary medium. Over the years, Chinese handscrolls went from being used primarily for documentation, i.e., a medium for writing down and sharing religious texts, to an art form with aesthetic, cultural and ceremonial significance.

Handscroll depicting a mountain landscape with tree and Chinese character calligraphy

The type of handscroll described in Peach Blossom ...

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