Anonymous: Portrait of Yinti, Prince Xun (1688-1755), and his wife (18th Century)

(Sackler Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA)

Another beautiful portrait from China. The man on the right is Yinti (or Yunti), Prince Xun of the Second Rank (1688–1756). He was a Manchu prince an general and the full (older) brother of the Yongzheng Emperor (reign 1722-1735). When the father of the brothers died, the Kangxi Emperor, Yinti was on a militairy campaign in Dzungaria. When Yinti returned to the imperial palace, his younger brother had become emperor and Yinty was stripped of his rank and imprisoned. Only in 1734 was Yinti restored as Prince Xun of the Second Rank. On the left is his wife, her identity is not exactly known but probably she is Lady Jinse. She was 14 when she married Yinty who was 60 at that time. The reason why the lady looks not much alive compaired to the world-weary Yinti is because the women were usually painted without actually being seen by the painter. For the painting their features were selected from sketchbooks of body parts (eyes from Column A, nose from Column B, mouth from Column C etc). The wives of these high ranking officials reflected the status of their husbands: lady Jinse has dragons on here clothes who have 5 paws and her beads are crossed in an X at her chest - this makes her husband higher in rank then someone with a dragon which has 4 claws. Notice also that Lady Jinse has 3 earrings, this is a Manchu style (Chinese women wore only one). Painting from the mid 18th century.

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