Portrait of Shi Wenying

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1644-1911
Ink and colors on silk
H x W (painting): 210.9 x 113.7 cm (83 1/16 x 44 3/4 in) H x W (overall): 327.5 x 142.5 cm (128 15/16 x 56 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program and partial gift of Richard G. Pritzlaff
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

carpet, chair, China, man, portrait, Pritzlaff collection, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

This formal portrait of Shi Wenying (1655-1718), a lieutenant-general of the Chinese Plain White Banner, probably served as an ancestor portrait that kept his family's memory of him alive. It would have been displayed during domestic ritual ceremonies, especially those during the Chinese Lunar New Year. Some families also hung ancestor portraits on occasions when they wanted to report good news-such as introducing a new bride-to a deceased parent.

Shi Wenying received a number of outstanding promotions during his court career. Imperial honors that indicated his high rank include the fur coat and very noticeable peacock feather depicted here. In actuality, the feather hung from the back of the hat and would not have been visible in a frontal portrait. Such symbols were important to descendants, for they reflected family pride and glory.

Published References
  • Jan Stuart, Evelyn S. Rawski. Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Exh. cat. Washington and Stanford. p. 197, fig. 38.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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