In IX century Chinese art historian Zhu Cincuan reports the following about him: "Zhang Xuan, a native of the capital, drawing young men from noble families, saddled horses, the views of the Imperial parks, the well-behaved wives portraits, painted screens and became famous as the best master of his time. He was skilled in sketching and painting things in one stroke of the brush. All the objects in its landscapes of pavilions, terraces, trees, flowers and birds — were discharged with consummate perfection. He painted pictures the poems of "Sorrow Palace Kanmani", a fiction depicted a species with serpentine galleries, pavilions and terraces, gilded wells and trees utun. He drew a picture of the "Noble boys on a night walk," "the Petition of skill in the celebration of the Eve of sedmica", "admiring the moon". All this he did with great care and far exceeded anything created on these topics previously. His image of the noble young men saddled the horses and Palace parks are first rate." However, in its three-level rating artists this historian has put Zhang Xuan is not the first, and the second category.
Another historian and theorist of painting Zhang YANYUAN (IX.) describes him only one sentence: "Zhang Xuan loved to paint women and children." Unknown origin Zhang Xuan, nor the position occupied by them at court, neither the date of his birth and death. Based on this modern experts on painting of the Tang dynasty, think the artist among his contemporaries did not enjoy great popularity. However, the name of Zhang Xuan constantly present in the later discussions about the Tang painting mainly due to the existence of two well-known copies of his works, which are attributed to an outstanding artist-Emperor of song dynasty — Guazzone (1101-1126). This "silk Trade" (Boston, Museum of fine arts) and "Spring walk MS Hugo" (Museum of Liaoning province, Shenyang). Dual authorship of these scrolls naturally raises the question of the extent to which they convey a painting of the Zhang Xuan. Experts believe that in composition they are likely to follow the original, but the painting — the thick application of paint, flat images, and the utmost attention to detail and ornamentation reflects the tastes characteristic of the Academy of painting Huizong.
On a roll of "Spring walk MS Hugo" is depicted horse travel younger sister of the main Tang of the femme fatale Yang guifei, who was no less famous for its beauty and frivolity than her older sister. This work exists today, at least in two copies. The second attributed to the famous song dynasty artist Li Gunline. Overall, this is a fairly banal scene of the cavalcade, which in Chinese painting are fairly common. She follows the old traditions of images of horsemen and chariots, known from Han times.
Much more interesting scroll, "Preparation of silk." It shows a different aspect of the life of the Imperial harem — the ceremony of making silk. The emergence of the tradition of the image of this ritual scholars refer to as the VI—V centuries BC Similar scenes depicted on ancient bronze vessels and stone reliefs. They provide an opportunity to understand much more ambiguous role of ladies-in-waiting (Imperial concubines) in the Chinese state than people think. The silk weaving in ancient times was considered a special ritual; the ladies of the court were responsible for conducting the annual ceremony of gathering the mulberry leaves and the silk production.
A roll of "Cooking with silk" clearly resonates with the "Instructions of the senior court lady" include GU kaizhi. It depicts a three-part action. In the first stage, four concubines with the pestle in his hands whipped silk, laid in a trough. In the second scene, the concubine one sews, the other spins. In the third — women stretch silk. Animates the scene plays a little girl. All women depicted in accordance with the fashion that existed in the epoch of the Tang dynasty, plump and chubby. Other works by Zhang Xuan unknown. His work was continued in the works of his contemporary, the Tang painter Zhou Fang.