Explore the Stories Within

Fan paintings of Twenty-four
Paragons of Filial Piety,
birds and flowers, and
landscapes over flowing water

Twenty of the painted fans on this pair of folding screens (view screens on next page) illustrate stories from the Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety. The stories are classic tales about the self-sacrificing behavior of Chinese children who demonstrate the Confucian virtue of filial piety—showing respect, obedience, and care for parents, elderly family members, and ancestors.

These paintings demonstrate how Japanese artists often reinterpreted Chinese subjects and painting techniques.

Confucian: relating to the ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE)
Filial piety: the virtue of respect for one’s parents and ancestors

Select a fan on the next page to zoom in on details and read the stories.