Hanging scroll painting by Pu Shirui

Made in China, Asia, 1700-1800.

Hedda Hammer Morrison (1908-1991) is a noted German-Australian photographer who made a significant contribution to the understanding of the Chinese people through photographs taken during her years of residence in Peking (present day Beijing, then known as Beiping or Northern Peace) from 1933 to 1946.

The Powerhouse Museum holds the largest and most comprehensive collection of Hedda Morrison photographs and research material in Australia. The collection includes personal papers, memorabilia and...


A painting on hanging scroll paper depicting in ink a figure recluse in a dwelling in a landscape setting with towering mountain peaks, and cascading waterfall framed by trees. Two embroidered coloured thread panels border the painting at its top and base. At the top left and lower left corner the painting has been signed, inscribed with a poem and dated.


1675 mm
482 mm


Chinese painting skills were acquired through years of practice writing Chinese characters and also learning the particular stroke configurations used in painting known as type forms. Chinese painting was divided into the broad disciplines of landscape, bird and flower and figure painting. Landscape painting was regarded as the most difficult. Painting and calligraphy use the same materials - brush and ink and can be applied to paper or silk. Painting draws on the art of calligraphy and a painter is expected to be a scholar well versed in poetry and classical allusions, history and the history of art. Artists also carved seals, which carry the artists name or a studio name.

Chinese landscape paintings present a moving perspective based on the idea of three distances: near, middle and far. This encourages the eye to move between the various pictorial elements instead of focusing on a fixed point of view. In reading the painting the viewers eye is taken on a journey of discovery, often following a zig-zag path through the painting that is structured by the placement of visual elements.

The red stamps, called seals, are the Chinese characters incised or cut into stone or sometimes ivory that are pressed into red seal paste and affixed to the surface of the painting. Seals are marks of the painter or owner or subsequent collectors. Artist seals are most often placed after the inscription. There may be one or a number of seals, which may include the artists studio name or other names by which they were known. This scroll painting has three seals. Often, seals placed in the lower right or left of the painting were placed there to give formal balance to the painting.

The colour pigments used are extracted from minerals or vegetables and mixed with a binding agent such as alum.

The inscriptions are read in vertical lines beginning top right and working down and then from right to left.

The inscription on the painting in large characters reads:
"Shan jing si tai gu, ri chang ru xiao nian". This may be translated as
The mountains are so tranquil that it feels like ancient times,
The sunshine seems to extend for the whole year

Inscription in smaller characters:
"Gui si sui, miaomo Liuru jushi, Pu Shirui" which may be translated as Pu Shirui, copied from a work by Liuru jushi (Tang Yin) in the Gui si year.

Gui si year is a year within the 60 year cycle of traditional Chinese dating. Once the dates of the artist Pu Shirui can be determined it will be possible to date this work accurately.

A number of Chinese artist dictionaries have been consulted but the dates of the artist Pu Shirui have not been ascertained.


The painting was given to Hedda Hammer Morrison by Jean-Pierre Dubosc, the French diplomat, collector and dealer, after Hedda took up residence in the rambling courtyard house lived in by he and his young wife Janine Dubosc. Hedda lived in the Dubosc courtyard in the west of the city from 1938. The painting was donated to the Museum by her husband, Alastair Morrison.
Morrison, Hedda 1938-1991


Gift of Alastair Morrison, 2007
16 January, 2007

Cite this Object

Hanging scroll painting by Pu Shirui 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2017, <https://ma.as/319975>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/319975 |title=Hanging scroll painting by Pu Shirui |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
Know more about this object?
Have a question about this object?