A native of Nanchang, Jianxi province, Min Zhen (1730-1788) was a painter and seal carver who specialized in human figures. He spent most of his life in Hubei.
Reverend Isaac Taylor Headland (1859-1942) was an American missionary and accomplished scholar who went to Beijing in 1880 and served as a professor at Peking University. While he was hired as professor of science, he taught a wide range of subjects, all in Chinese. Reverend Headland was also instrumental in obtaining books on foreign topics, especially technology, for Emperor Guangxu (1871-1908). His wife, Dr. Miriam Sinclair Headland (1859-1953) served as head of the Presbyterian Women’s Hospital and then professor of hygiene at Peking University. She served as physician to the mother and sister of Empress Dowager Cixi and interacted frequently with many members of the royal family, both professionally and socially. Reverend Headland’s language ability and experiences gained from living for 17 years in the capital of China during a turbulent period resulted in numerous publications on a wide variety of topics. Furthermore, Reverend Headland’s interest in Chinese culture led him to assemble a large collection of Chinese paintings and works of art. Regarding his paintings, in addition to works from the Empress Dowager herself, Reverend Headland collected classical works from earlier times and paintings made by contemporary artists living in the capital.