Battle of the Bridge; Rubbing from the Wu Liang Mortuary Shrine

Accession Number

Battle of the Bridge; Rubbing from the Wu Liang Mortuary Shrine


Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
ink on paper

35 9/16 in. x 81 11/16 in. ( 90.4 cm x 207.5 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Willard A. and Marybelle Bouchard Hanna

Label copy
The dramatic battle scene in this rubbing was taken from a stone on the wall of one of the most famous tomb chambers to survive from the Han Dynasty, that of the Wu family. The walls of the multi-chambered tomb are covered with shallow carved relief scenes that provide an encyclopedic overview of Chinese history and lore. There is fierce debate about the meaning of the scene for the tomb occupant and within the larger context of Han art. In terms of style, however, there is universal agreement that the Wu Family Shrine marks one of the apogees of Chinese pictorial art. The representation of animal forms is especially memorable. In this famous scene, barrel-chested horses on impossibly slender legs drive all the action toward a confrontation at the center; the fish help clarify that the lower central scene takes place in the water; and the flying birds add to a general sense of chaos.
Maribeth Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art
Exhibited in "Flora and Fauna in Chinese Art," April 6, 2002 – December 1, 2002.
Exhibited in "Stories from the Past: Narrative in Asian Art," January 24 – July 25, 2004.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
works on paper

Collection Area

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& Author Notes

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