Portrait of Yinli, Prince Guo (1697-1738)

Artist: Probably by Mangguri (1672-1736)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign, 1731
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 158.8 x 88.9 cm (62 1/2 x 35 in) H x W (overall): 345 x 132.5 cm (135 13/16 x 52 3/16 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, orchid, portrait, prince, Pritzlaff collection, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

Yinli, Prince Guo, is captured in an elegant, informal pose by Mangguri, a Qing dynasty (1644-1911) bannerman who enjoyed a successful career as an official and who was also known for his ability as a painter. Mangguri once had the great honor of being asked to paint a portrait of the Kangxi emperor (reigned 1662-1722).

Prince Guo was apparently very fond of having his portrait painted, given the number of likenesses of him that survive, and Mangguri seems to have painted most of them. The prince commissioned images of himself that projected a self-image as an introspective man of scholarly erudition and refined sensibilities. The inscription on the painting is a poem written by the prince:

 Humbled that through my kinship to the throne,
 I was allotted a scepter in the prime of life, 
 I shall hold fast to the Way of antiquity, 
 And hope to preserve it without transgression.
 Availing himself of this fine white silk,
 That my figure may be transmitted on it,
 The painter was indeed a marvelous hand,
 Who erred in neither ugliness or beauty,
 What is stored within is displayed without,
 He has captured here my character as well.
 Refraining from any wanton extravagance,
 I shall follow in the footsteps of the former sages,
 And by the bright window, at my clean desk,
 Thrice replace the worn-out bindings on my books.

(Translation by Stephen D. Allee)

Published References
  • Sooa McCormick. The Korean Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Seoul, Republc of Korea, November 15, 2021. pg 311, fig 10.
  • Annette Bugener. Die Heldengalerie des Qianlong Kaisers. .
  • Jan Stuart. Calling Back the Ancestor's Shadow: Chinese Ritual and Commemorative Portraits. vol. XLIII no. 3. p. 11, fig. 8.
  • Jan Stuart, Evelyn S. Rawski. Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Exh. cat. Washington and Stanford. p. 61, fig. 2.13.
  • Diandian Li. Beauty Reviewed: Mangguri and Portraiture for the Yongzheng Court. vol. 50, Number 1. Hong Kong, January/February 2019. p. 103, figs 5 and 7.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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