Zhenxian shiji (Episodic Vestiges of the Perfected Transcendent) Item Number: 1018/104 from the MOA: University of British Columbia


Daoist album leaf. Painting depicting Xu Xun and the celestial writ bestowing instruction. A figure in red, gold and blue robes is holding a piece of white paper with several male figures gathered around him, some of which are holding a tapering white object, and some of which are holding weapons. There are four female figures, each holding an ornament on a staff, standing behind a table with a yellow object sitting inside a red and gold piece of fabric with radiating undulating multicoloured lines. Seven male figures are kneeling facing a vase on a pedestal. There are ornaments haning from staffs in both the foreground and the background, partially hidden by clouds. The painting is mounted on off-white damask-patterned silk on paper.

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.)