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Rare Chinese Ancestor 19th. century Portrait on linen

Rare Chinese Ancestor 19th. century Portrait on linen


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Paintings: Pre 1900: Item # 1217700

Please refer to our stock # 0039 when inquiring.
Momoyama Gallery
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Richard van Norten - by appointment
Avenue Royal - Luxembourg / Europe


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$2500

Are you interested in high quality chinese paintings? Up for sale is this rare 19th. century ancestor portrait of an important gentleman. It is exquisitily painted with oil colours on linen and emanates an intensive sense of real chinese art.

The colours are still vivid and shiny, and the paint cracks intensify the antique aura. It is very valuable.

The Size is 99 cm x 51 cm (38,98'' x 20,08''). It is not framed and will be safely shipped in tube.

Further information

Chinese ancestor portraits most often were commissioned by a direct descendant, usually the oldest son, and the portraits were frequently painted posthumously. Often, the deceased's facial features were modelled by an artist who asked the relatives to study a book of sketches of faces. The painter copied a nose from one face, eyes from another and so forth based on instructions from the family. In the end, faces compiled this way are indistinguishable from those painted from life.

Occasionally, the artist visited the subject on his or her death bed and rarely the subject sat for the portrait near the end of life. The Chinese believed that they could communicate with the spirit of the ancestor by hanging his or her portrait, by performing a kowtow (kneeling and knocking one's head on the floor) before it, and by burning incense and placing candles, flowers, food and wine on an altar in front of the portrait. Family members thought that they would be granted happiness, health and many sons in their own lives by honouring and caring for their ancestors' spirits.

Arguably, a portrait is not an "ancestor" portrait unless it was actually made for, and used in, ritual worship. However, seldom will purpose and usage be known, so a painting is classified as an ancestor portrait if it includes certain elements. The identifying features in ancestor portraits of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) are a person facing directly forward with a solemn expression on his or her face and, typically, in the case of upper class portraits, the subject clasps one of the beads of a court necklace.

The person is usually seated on a chair with a rounded back (a shape of chair that indicates status or honour) and the furniture is often covered by a patterned silk cloth or a tiger's skin. The sitter is wearing a costume that identifies his or her rank. Sometimes there is a carpet on the floor. The painted subjects mostly wear their highest ranking costume, either a chaofu or court robe, which is the most formal and highest rank of court dress, or a fiufu (which translates as "surcoat with a patch") with a rank badge (the patch) usually worn over a jifu ("festive dress", commonly known as a dragon robe). Sometimes the pufu is worn over a chaofu.

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