Portrait of Yang Hong (1381–1451)

Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, Jingtai reign, ca. 1451
Ink and color on silk
H x W (painting): 218.6 × 126.9 cm (86 1/16 × 49 15/16 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

attendant, China, man, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), portrait, Pritzlaff collection, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

Yang Hong was a valorous army commander during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). An inscription on the painting describes him as possessing "intestinal fortitude of iron and stone," despite the fact that he looks kind, more like a scholar than a warrior. Yang's face was painted in the best of Ming dynasty tradition, using fluid ink outlines that are superimposed over underdrawing in red. Softly graded color washes flesh out the features.

Yang wears a ceremonial military helmet with a raptor feather tucked into the upper corner on his left. Tinkling chains of jade pendants are suspended from his belt, left and right, and on his left, a white plaque, or rank insignia, hangs from his girdle. Some features of the attendants' dress, such one boy's earring, recall customs of people from beyond China's northern border, where Yang was stationed during his military career.

Published References
  • Ming art, people and places. Cover.
  • Presence: The Inherence of the Prototype within Images and Other Objects. Histories of Vision Burlington, Vermont. fig. 2.3.
  • Jan Stuart. Calling Back the Ancestor's Shadow: Chinese Ritual and Commemorative Portraits. vol. XLIII no. 3. p. 13, fig. 10.
  • Jan Stuart, Evelyn S. Rawski. Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Exh. cat. Washington and Stanford. p. 89, fig. 3.13.
  • Jessica Harrison-Hall. Ming: 50 years that changed China. Exh. cat. London, 2014. cat. 113, 129.
  • The Family Model in Chinese Art and Culture. p. 290.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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