• Lot 1531

    A PORTRAIT OF A MANDARIN OF THE FIRST-RANK

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PORTRAIT OF A MANDARIN OF THE FIRST-RANK
    QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY

    Painted on silk, the seated official is dressed in a light brown inner robe with horse-hoof cuffs protruding out of his blue-coloured winter surcoat, bufu, the rounded collar, sleeves and garment lining all trimmed with fur, emblazoned on the chest with a rank-badge depicting a stork amidst ruyi clouds above crested waves, adorned with a long beaded court necklace, the round face with meticulously drawn eyes and eyebrows, a delicate mouth slightly veiled by his moustache and framed by a beard, wearing a winter court hat surmounted by a ruby-coloured finial, the elbows resting gently to each side of the armrest of the horseshoe-back armchair draped with a green chair cover, and the feet on a footrest embellished with floral metal mounts
    40 1/8 x 58 5/8 in. (102 x 149 cm.) framed, glazed


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Under the highly regulated sumptuary laws of the Qing dynasty, which were first established under the Ming, the crane insignia emblazoned on the surcoat clearly identifies a first-ranking official of the Qing Court. This same crane motif appears on an illustration of a surcoat, or bufu, signifying that of a first-ranking civil official, and is included in a set of woodblock prints known as the Huangchao liqi tushi, 'Illustrated Precedents for the Ritual Paraphernalia of the Imperial Court'. A copy of this publication is in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection, from whence the surcoat with a crane insignia, is published by D. Dicksinson and L. Wrigglesworth, Imperial Wardrobe, Hong Kong, 1990, p. 126, pl. 107.

    It is also interesting to note the red beaded finial attached to the winter hat probably represents a glass bead or ruby, thereby reinforcing the suggestion that the sitter is a first-rank official or a prince. For a list of hat beads denoting official ranks see, J. Rutherford, 'Celestial Silks, Chinese Religious and Court Textiles', Arts of Asia, vol. 34, July-August 2004, p. 43.

    Provenance

    A gift from Alfred M. Bender to the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California, 1927
    California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California, 1936


    Pre-Lot Text

    VARIOUS PROPERTIES