Oriental Scrolls

Decorative scrolls have a history dating back to ancient China during the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD), where they were primarily used in tombs. The Chinese usually painted landscapes on 12-inch wide silk fabrics, called hand scrolls. About 20 feet in length, these scrolling paintings were meant to be viewed by a few people at a time. Viewers unrolled the Oriental scrolls gradually, seeing only about a foot and moving right to left and from scene to scene.

Most of the time, the painted landscapes revealed a minor narrative or moral message. Often these scrolls featured calligraphy as well, which is one of China's most important art forms. A painter would, for example, create a landscape on a Chinese scroll painting and then write a poem in a corner. At the time of the Han Dynasty, painting and calligraphy were considered the most popular art forms, so it was fitting to combine the two.

Decorative scrolls were popular with the nobility and the common classes as well. They were hung in palaces and homes as decoration and in some cases, religious relics. Today, Asian scrolls are used mostly for decoration and viewed as a beautiful and popular art form. Scrolled paintings can be hung on walls, doors and from ceilings.

A scroll painting usually has two thin cylinders of wood attached to the top and bottom of the painting. The cylinder on the bottom is usually heavier to keep the scroll flat. The material of the scrolled painting is usually made of rayon, cotton, sa paper, and in some cases, silk. Most Asian scrolls are designed with landscapes and nature scenes, such as flowers, butterflies and trees. View our complete line of Oriental scrolls today.