We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


The administration (Hangsi)

circa 1850s


Yao people


Alternate image of The administration (Hangsi) by Yao people
Alternate image of The administration (Hangsi) by Yao people
Alternate image of The administration (Hangsi) by Yao people
Alternate image of The administration (Hangsi) by Yao people
  • Details

    Other Title
    Heng Fei
    Place where the work was made
    Yunnan Province China
    Cultural origin
    circa 1850s
    Media category
    Materials used
    pigment on paper
    118.5 x 49.3 cm
    Gift of Dr John Yu and Dr George Soutter 2006
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Yao people

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Hangsi means the 'Full Altar' or the 'Administration' and is a depiction of the whole Daoist pantheon. Strongly influenced by Chinese tradition, this painting shows a group of Daoist gods and celestial worthies whom the Yao view as a 'Cosmic Fraternity' that was considered to have control of the whole universe. Some Buddhist influence is evident with the inclusion of Guanyin.

    The Daoist pantheon depicted includes:
    Top row: The 3 Pure ones in the middle l to r: Daode, Yuanshi, Lingbao, flanked by the Jade Emperor (r) and the Master of Saints(l)
    Second Row: believed to be attendants of the Jade Emperor and the Master of Saints
    Third row: in the middle the Buddhist Bodhisattva Guanyin
    Fourth Row: the middle 3 headed deity with many arms is thought to be the Buddhist Goddess of Light Marichi, whom the Yao have appropriated as Tai Sui, God of the Year.
    Fifth row: the 6 Marshals; the 3 matrons of Daoist religion in a circle.
    Sixth row: Haifan (The Sea Banner) and his horsemen
    Seventh row: Taiwei (The High Constable) with horsemen
    Eighth row: At middle a ritual furnace to burn paper money for the ‘Celestial Treasuries’; offerings (smoke) reaching the top
    Ninth row: Five orderlies mounted from l to r, on a buffalo, white elephant, lion, unicorn and tiger; left is the God of Soil

    Reference: Jacques Lemoine, 'Yao Ceremonial Paintings', 1982.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2007.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Yunnan Province

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Walking with gods, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Jun 2019–05 Jan 2020

  • Provenance

    John Yu, 1980s-2006, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, the nine Yao ceremonial paintings donated by Dr John Yu were purchased from different locations including Xian in Shaanxi province of China, Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Other works by Yao people

See all 8 works