Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chinese Portraits of the Ming Dynasty

I find these fascinating because the technique is so different from western painting but the results still immediately recognizable as individual people. This sets me wondering about how much difference of style there can be in an image that still conveys something recognizable to our eyes. Above, Seated Portrait of the Emperor Xuanzong (1399-1435).


 Portrait of Ho Bun, sixteenth-century mandarin.

Portrait of the Elderly Master Jing, Royal Ontario Museum.

Portrait of the Artist's Great Grand Uncle Yizhai at the Age of Eighty-Five, by the mysterious painter who signed himself only Zude. Ming dynasty, dated xiyou (1561 or 1621). In the Met.

Portrait of the painter Shen Zhou, one of the "Four Great Masters of the Ming," another example of the Chinese habit of making these numbered lists: the Four Spiritual Mountains, the Four Great Pottery Styles of the Sung (really), the Five Great Teachers, and so on. Shen Zhou seems to be in a good mood, no doubt because the emperor loved his work and made him rich.

Wang Shouren, 1472-1529. According to the site where I found this portrait, Wang was a "master of subjective idealism." Sure.

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