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Chinese Scrolls

Chinese scrolls come in two varieties: hanging scrolls, and handscrolls. The most predominant variety of scroll is the handscroll, which was typically used to depict a narrative. The scroll, usually kept in a wooden box, is rolled up when not being viewed, with all images obscured.

The physical act of receiving the scroll, untying it, holding it, and then unfurling the scroll from left to right renders the reveal of image and text an intimate and even eventful act. Images within the scroll are often paired with enhancing poems or other texts. They often include additional dialogue by others who have also witnessed the contents. The experience, therefore, of unfurling the scroll is just as important as its artistry.

Chinese hanging scrolls, typically much wider and shorter than the traditional Chinese handscroll, are often used to display calligraphy and paintings. While handscrolls were typically only paper, hanging scrolls were either paper or silk.


Quick Facts

  • When created, hanging scrolls were not made for permanent display. Typically, they were only displayed for short periods of time, and then later tied and stored
  • The first examples of hanging scrolls were silk banners, often displayed at a site of burial. The first hanging scroll banners were dated back to 206-220 B.C.
  • During the Han Dynasty, handscrolls were all-text documents. It wasn’t until the 220-280 A.D. that handscrolls became a standard medium for producing artwork

Recommended Items at Auction

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4 x Chinese scrolls wrapped in animal hide, 76cm L, 10cm Dia.
Jun 19, 7:00 PM AEST
4 x Chinese scrolls wrapped in animal hide, 76cm L, 10cm Dia.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD11010 Bids
Chinese Calligraphy Scroll
Jun 19, 7:00 PM AEST
Chinese Calligraphy Scroll
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD708 Bids
3 x Chinese Scrolls.
Jun 19, 7:00 PM AEST
3 x Chinese Scrolls.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD705 Bids
A Chinese scroll featuring ancestor (L:140cm)
Jun 20, 1:00 PM AEST
A Chinese scroll featuring ancestor (L:140cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD60- AUD80
AUD402 Bids
Lot of 3 scroll paintings.
Jun 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Lot of 3 scroll paintings.
by Tremont Auctions
Est: $100- $150
$502 Bids
MI GENGYUN 糜耕耘 (1910-1998): 'LOTUS', INK AND COLOUR ON PAPER, DATED 1977
Jul 03, 9:00 AM CEST
MI GENGYUN 糜耕耘 (1910-1998): 'LOTUS', INK AND COLOUR ON PAPER, DATED 1977
by Rob Michiels Auctions
Est: €400- €800
€3001 Bid
Chinese color painting paper scroll
Jun 22, 3:00 PM PDT
Chinese color painting paper scroll
by U.S. Poly International Auction Gallery
Est: $400- $600
$2001 Bid
SIGNED LI XIONGCAI (1910-2001). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING SCROLL PAINTING. H275.
Jun 26, 11:00 AM EDT
SIGNED LI XIONGCAI (1910-2001). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING SCROLL PAINTING. H275.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $2,500- $3,500
$9501 Bid
(4) ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED GAO JIANFU (1879-1951). A
Jun 26, 11:00 AM EDT
(4) ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED GAO JIANFU (1879-1951). A
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $35,000- $50,000
$7,5001 Bid
SIGNED GAO JIANFU (1879-1951). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING SCROLL PAINTING.H512.
Jun 26, 11:00 AM EDT
SIGNED GAO JIANFU (1879-1951). A INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING SCROLL PAINTING.H512.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $9,000- $15,000
$3,5001 Bid
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED YIN ZIXIANG (1909-1984). CHINESE INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING SCROLL PAINTING. FRAMED. H579.
Jun 26, 11:00 AM EDT
ATTRIBUTED AND SIGNED YIN ZIXIANG (1909-1984). CHINESE INK AND COLOR ON PAPER HANGING SCROLL PAINTING. FRAMED. H579.
by Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.
Est: $5,000- $8,000
$1,5001 Bid
Antique Chinese Scroll Painting Signed Ma Yuan
Jun 26, 10:00 AM EDT
Antique Chinese Scroll Painting Signed Ma Yuan
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $250- $350
$1501 Bid
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A Chinese scroll painting on silk, 68 x 13 in. (172.7 x 33 cm.)
Jun 26, 9:00 AM PDT
A Chinese scroll painting on silk, 68 x 13 in. (172.7 x 33 cm.)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $200- $300
$1401 Bid
2 x Chinese Scrolls A/F.
Jun 20, 7:00 PM AEST
2 x Chinese Scrolls A/F.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD201 Bid
Chinese scroll featuring fish (L:171cm)
Jun 20, 1:00 PM AEST
Chinese scroll featuring fish (L:171cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD60- AUD80
AUD151 Bid
LARGE Chinese Ancestors Portrait Scroll in Shadowbox Frame- 62x31"
Jun 20, 12:00 PM PDT
LARGE Chinese Ancestors Portrait Scroll in Shadowbox Frame- 62x31"
by District Auction
Est: $0- $0
$101 Bid
A Chinese scroll featuring birds (L:168.5cm)
Jun 20, 1:00 PM AEST
A Chinese scroll featuring birds (L:168.5cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD150- AUD200
AUD201 Bid
Set of four Chinese scrolls by Chang Tan Nung.
Jun 21, 11:00 AM AEST
Set of four Chinese scrolls by Chang Tan Nung.
by Because Auctions
Est: AUD40- AUD80
AUD201 Bid
A set of four Chinese Hebei picture scrolls.
Jun 21, 11:00 AM AEST
A set of four Chinese Hebei picture scrolls.
by Because Auctions
Est: AUD40- AUD80
AUD201 Bid
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Ancient people & crane, Chinese hanging scroll 175 cm
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Ancient people & crane, Chinese hanging scroll 175 cm
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$1,0000 Bids
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Chinese hanging scroll "Plum Blossoms", hand-painted on paper
Jun 22, 11:00 AM EDT
Chinese hanging scroll "Plum Blossoms", hand-painted on paper
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $600- $1,200
$3000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Scrolls


Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.

Metropolitan Auction of Art Inc.

China Arts Auction

China Arts Auction

Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc

Walnut Tree Auction House, Inc

Annabel's Galleries Inc.

Annabel's Galleries Inc.