Zhenxian shiji (Episodic Vestiges of the Perfected Transcendent)

About this object

History of use

Daoist album entitled “Zhenxian shiji” (眞僊事蹟), translated as “Episodic Vestiges of the Perfected Transcendent”. The album is on the life of Xu Xun (許遜), a Daoist priest of the Jin dynasty (265-420) and was meant to be presented to the Jiajing (嘉靖) emperor. This album may be said to offer the most vivid version of the story of Xu Xun known to survive. The signature and seal of the Suzhou painter Xie Shichen (謝時臣) (1487-1567+) appear on the initial illustration, with the date Jiajing (嘉靖) 25 (1546), but this attribution is in question. The person credited with putting the text in order (bianci 編次) is a certain Wang Gongkui (王拱樻).


This set of album leaves (1018/1-131) was collected by Mr. Nicolai Yakovleff, c. 1930, while living in Shanghai. He collected various types of art, including ceramics, scroll paintings and rare books. He died in 1971, leaving his collection to his wife Pauline. In 1980 Pauline remarried, to Professor Jan Solecki. (Note: in 1970s documents she is referred to as Mrs. Nicolai Yakovleff; in 1980s documents she is referred to as Mrs. Jan Solecki. In an interview in 2006 Jan Solecki gave her full name as Pauline Goldstein Yakovleff Solecki.)

Physical description

Daoist album leaf. Painting depicting Xu Xun and the extermination of fiends and protection of the elixir. Six male figures, some with weapons, each with a small fiend figure in their hands, and a seventh figure preparing to use a weapon on two find figures floating above him with their arms raised. On the other side of a stream is a male figure holding a sword and wearing light blue and gold robes that have a darker blue border. Beside him is pictured a young man holding a sword sheath. The figures are surrounded by green and blue rocky outcrops and clouds. The painting is mounted on off-white damask-patterned silk on paper.