"Chasing Pan" 趕潘 - ROM2018_16640_2


"Chasing Pan" 趕潘

Medium:Woodblock print, ink and colour on paper
Geography: Jiajiang, Sichuan, China
Period: Nineteenth to mid-twentieth century
Ht 55.2 x Wt 34.0 cm
Object number: 969.168.23
On view
Gallery Location:The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume

This is an example of an opera-themed New Year picture. It depicts the scene “Chasing Pan”1 from a traditional Sichuan opera. There are many versions of the story, but the plot is roughly the same. A young scholar Pan Bizheng 潘必正 is ashamed to return home because of his failure in the civil examination. He stays at a female Daoist temple where his aunt is the head of the nuns. In the temple, Pan meets Chen Miaochang 陳妙常, who has also run to the temple for refuge. Stunned by Chen’s beauty, Pan falls in love. He puts out feelers to see if Chen is also fond of him. It turns out that Chen also has a crush on him. They become engaged without the permission of their parents. Unfortunately, Pan’s aunt interferes with the engagement. Worried about the future of her nephew, the aunt tries to break up the couple. She evicts Pan from the temple. When Chen realizes that Pan has left, she tries to catch up with him by chasing him along the Qiu River 秋江. Eventually, the lovers get married. This picture illustrates the scene of Chen chasing after Pan by boat. The S-shaped composition vividly and concisely depicts the main plot of the story.

This is a rare example of a Jiajiang New Year print with an opera theme.2 The print depicts characters in bold lines and saturated colours. It could be regarded as one of the representative works of Jiajiang New Year pictures.

1 The full title of this scene is “Miss Chen Running after Pan” (Chen gu gan pan 陳姑趕潘), which is part of the traditional opera “A Tale of Jade Clasp” (Yu zan ji 玉簪記). Gao Lian 高濂, Yu zan ji玉簪記, from Mao Jin 毛晉, Liu shi zhong qu 六十種曲.

2 Fold Museum (Warsaw, Czech Republic) and Harvard Art Museum each has a print of the same theme but from different editions. Both were reproduced by the Dongchangxing 董長興 workshop.

Publication: Wen-Chien Cheng, and Yanwen Jiang. Gods in my home: Chinese ancestor portraits and popular prints (Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum, 2019), 84-85.

If you see an error or have additional information, please contact us by clicking here.