Analysis of the Painting Late Northern Song emperior Huzong Essay

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Cranes above Kaifeng or Auspicious Cranes is a hand scroll attributed to one of the most artistic important figure: Late Northern Song Emperor Huizong (Sturman, 1990). This painting was made to commemorate a “rare” phenomenon where 20 cranes flying on the sky above the main gate of the palace, Kaifeng, on the day of Lantern Festival on the year 1112. This phenomenon was believed as a Mandate of Heaven under the rule of Emperor Huizong (IBID). This auspicious phenomenon, however, might not be as magical as it seems since Cranes above Kaifeng mirrors Emperor Huizong’s 3 aspects of painting that shows Emperor Huizong’s power on art during his sovereignty. Firstly, auspicious phenomenon mentioned before is known as ruiying in Chinese. It is…show more content…
In other words, although he promoted realism, Cranes above Kaifeng is still subjected to interpretation. In the painting, the cranes were dancing in an elegant and formally choreographed dance above the city gates among the magical clouds (Ars orientalis). Seeing this, it might not be convincing to say that the painting is based on a real life event since it is close to impossible for the cranes to dance in an exact beautiful formation. Although, it is not unlikely that Huizong did see cranes above the city gates but he saw or imagine them as if they were dancing instead of just flying through. Intentionally or not, he then depicted the event so beautifully in the hand scroll and interpreted it as Mandate of Heaven. Furthermore, during Huizong’s reign, he focused a lot on these auspicious signs and even developed a record of these by having the citizens to report the sightings (ars orientalis). It was like a documentation of the blessings that were given to the Song (kertas selembar). This system, however, made it seems like these auspicious events were forced and did not happen naturally. This is quite fascinating because it seemed like Huizong wanted to control Heaven’s blessings and as long as the people believed him, it did not really matter whether those auspicious events were not true. The documentation or record that was produced acted like evidence that Song is blessed and Huizong was indeed a legitimate leader. This
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