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The Parting of Su Wu and Li Ling

The Parting of Su Wu and Li Ling
Chou Wen-chu (fl. 10th c.)
Five Dynasties (Southern T'ang)

  Chou Wen-chu served as a Painter-in-Attendance under Li Yu and specialized in figure painting. This is the farewell scene between Su Wu and Li Ling. Su was dispatched under Emperor Wu-ti as an envoy to the Huns. Detained as a prisoner, he was banished to the north as a sheep herder for 19 years. Not until the reign of Emperor Chao-ti was he released. Li Ling had served as a general under Wu-ti and fought against the Huns. When Li surrendered, Wu-ti sentenced Li and his family to death, so he was unable to return home. When Li heard of Su's release, they met for a farewell. Here, in the cold and windy north, Su on the left and Li on the right cry in grief before parting. Their expressions are moving, while the lines are fine yet forceful.