This is an authentic, original, Chinese family ancestor's portrait that is hand painted on canvas, colored using natural ingredients, such as lapis and saffron. Genuine lapis lazuli stone was grounded to generate the gorgeous blue while saffron and impatiens were mashed to create orange and pink. Other prized minerals include cinnabar for its beautiful, saturated red.
Father and son, both in their Qin dynasty court attires, are portrayed here with their wives. His decorated robe with imperial badge and his wife's elaborate, gilded crown, demonstrate the son's high ranking. Depicted in the traditional conservative style, these matriarchs and patriarchs display calm, authoritative disposition. All other elements in the painting, such as peonies adorned draperies and eternity scroll rug, all serve to support the theme of prosperity.
Only prominent families in ancient China, mostly imperial officials, have such portraits. They were hung in the family ancestry hall to be honored by the offspring and to serve as a disciplinary measure for bad behaviors. On important holidays, the ceremony to worship ancestors is the first and most important ritual held at such household. It symbolizes family heritage and continuous good fortune.
The splendid portrait was folded and hid during the Cultural Revolution in the 60s. The creases on the painting tell a brave story of its survival during the society turmoil. It is now carefully preserved in a new frame. Not Chinese export or decorative art, this is an original piece from the inland of China.
30" w x 43" h