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Painting Anime: Departure Herald and Return Clearing
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Intro :
In this handscroll, a great imperial procession is departing from the Victory Gate of the city walls to pay respects at the imperial tombs. The artists depicted shops along the way and the ceremonial guards at the imperial tombs, the final resting place for Ming dynasty emperors 45 kilometers from the capital at Mt. T'ien-shou.
Departure Herald is actually accompanied by another long handscroll painting entitled Return Clearing, which depicts the inspection of tomb sweeping rites. Usually considered as a pair, they are collectively known as Departure Herald and Return Clearing.
Tthe artists depicted the entire event from the departure, arrival at the destination, and return to the capital. The traditional means of viewing Departure Herald is from right to left, whereas Return Clearing is from left to right. Departure Herald represents the emperor taking the land route on horseback, while in Return Clearing, he is shown taking a water route by boat.
These two scrolls are not only the longest handscrolls in the collection of the National Palace Museum, together over 56 feet long, but also the rarest in the enormity of effort it took to complete the number of figures and detailed scenery.
Neither of these two works was signed or sealed by the artists who painted them. However, judging from the style, content, and great effort, it most likely took many court artists to complete.
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