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Chinese Ancestor Portrait

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Chinese Ancestor Portrait

Ancestral portraits are commemorative paintings commissioned by families; they are a visual representation of family lineage (modernly referred to as a ‘family tree’ in western culture) and are used for worship in honoring and paying respect to one's elders. The composition can range from an individual family member, couple, or a large assemblage of predecessors. Traditional examples are finely detailed, typically portraying the subject seated in a type of formal attire that directly relates to their social or professional status. Other components such as headgear, jewelry, furniture, and even hand placement can represent certain characteristics of wealth, cultural significance, and government employment. This large and colorful ancestor painting depicts a man in an understated Manchu robe and cap flanked by his two wives. The detailing in the painting is quite delicate and traditional –layered clothing, a richly carved chair, scholarly artifacts on an altar, a scroll painting with natural scenery. The faces are depicted with both realism and affection. It is noteworthy that none of the three figures are depicted wearing a lavish costume or aristocratic rank patches; these are wealthy commoners dressed elegantly but not above their station. The painting is natural pigments (gouache) on heavy paper. It dates to the middle 19th Century and is of Northern Chinese origin.
Origin | China
Year Made | 19th Century
Material | Paper, Glass, Wood
Dimensions | 44.5"W x 2.25"D x 82"H
ID | Ancestor Portrait 20M
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