Mongols in World History | Asia for Educators

Khubilai Khan and Mongol Patronage of the Arts in China

Khubilai Khan commissioned the Chinese painter Liu Guandao to produce this depiction of him as "the Emperor and Great Khan" on a hunt. Hunting was a quintessential Mongol activity that was originally designed as training for warfare.

Liu Guandao's depiction of Khubilai in this work (the figure in the white, fur-tipped robe in the central foreground) confirms Marco Polo's descriptions of the emperor as an aging and obese man.

Commissions such as these are a good indication of the Mongols' dedication to artistic partonage.

About the artist Liu Guandao:
Hills Beyond a River, by James Cahill (New York: Weatherhill, 1976)

compare this to a Western artist's depiction of Khubilai Khan on a hunt