Portrait of Lirongbao’s Wife (fl. 17th century)

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 18th-19th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 177.6 x 98.6 cm (69 15/16 x 38 13/16 in) H x W (overall): 337 x 135.3 cm (132 11/16 x 53 1/4 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

aristocracy, China, dragon, portrait, Pritzlaff collection, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), woman, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

This traditional-style ancestor portrait depicts the mother of the Qianlong emperor's first empress, who lived from 1711 to 1748. It forms a pair with that of her husband Lirongbao (see S1991.130). The emperor's mother-in-law wears a lavishly decorated coat, but this attire, lacking court jewelry, is not the highest level of court dress seen in most memorial portraits of people in the imperial circle. Despite this discrepancy in dress, evidence of the unusual care with which this portrait was painted emerged during recent conservation. It was discovered that the rich tone and brilliance of some colors—especially the gold dragons—had been enhanced by applying pigments to the back of the painting as well as on the front, an extra effort that suggests this was a costly commission.

Published References
  • East-West Interchanges in American Art: A Long and Tumultuous Relationship. Washington. .
  • Jan Stuart, Evelyn S. Rawski. Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Exh. cat. Washington and Stanford. p. 160, fig. 6.7.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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