Portrait of Yinti, Prince Xun (1688-1755), and Wife

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, mid-18th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 187.6 x 161.8 cm (73 7/8 x 63 11/16 in) H x W (overall): 335 x 197 cm (131 7/8 x 77 9/16 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

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

This portrait show Yinti as an old man, in contrast to the portrait depicted in S1991.87. The cataract on his right eye, crows' feet around his eyes, and sunken cheeks hint at Yinti's harsh aging, perhaps a result of spending twelve years under house arrest after being implicated in a plot against his brother, who became the Yongzheng emperor in 1723. Yinti's freedom and rank were restored after his nephew became the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736-96).

Yinti's wife appears strikingly more idealized than her husband. This might reflect notions of female beauty in China as well as the traditional prohibition of male artists studying the faces of the women they painted. (According to Confucian teaching, men were not supposed to see women unrelated to them).  If this painting had been intended as a ritual portrait, a greater attempt at realism might have been made. Instead, it was likely created to celebrate a life event, perhaps an anniversary.

Published References
  • Cobblestone Publishing. The Royal Wardrobe. vol. 19, no. 5, February 2009. p. 29.
  • Jan Stuart, Evelyn S. Rawski. Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Exh. cat. Washington and Stanford. p. 55, fig. 2.3.
  • Song Dong: Dad and Mom, Don't Worry About Us, We Are All Well. Exh. cat. San Francisco. p. 81, fig. 4.
  • "La Cité interdite à Monaco: Vie de cour des empereurs et impératrices de Chine." The Forbidden City in Monaco: Imperial Court Life in China. Exh. cat. Paris, France. p. 164, cat. 40.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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