#ANC-002 Qing Dynasty Ancestral Portrait of A Man, A Woman, and A Child

This unusual Qing Dynasty ancestral portrait painting is delicately yet lavishly painted with a variety of blue color pigments and others. The main figure of a sitting male adult holds a western style pocket watch in his hand while a young child in front of him moving forward trying to grab the watch in his hand, all painted with great expression and fine detail. An older woman is painted at the back ground, watching from inside a window the activity outdoor.

The building is of a traditional Chinese residence with lattice door or window, furnished outdoor with the traditional style Chinese furniture pieces and a bonsai stand made of roots. The landscape also includes what looks to be a stone low table, left to the house, with various bonsai pots and vegetation on display. A crane peeks out from the side of the house. At the front, an elegant bamboo fence is built around a small winding creek or water way with a willow tree and blossoming fruit branches.

At the top of the painting, above the house, an elongated sky shows the pine trees hanging over the roof, giving the viewers an imaginary uninterrupted extension of the space. The whole composition of the painting is very well thought out.

The origin of the use of Chinese blue colors is unclear. It was developed much later than the red and the black color. The blue was also included in another word for color, Qing (same pronunciation as the word for Qing dynasty), that included greenish blue colors. In China, blue colors were developed using both formulation of minerals as well as plants. They were used a lot on Chinese paintings, porcelains, textiles, and also the ancient buildings, but not so much on furniture pieces except for small areas on the furniture or carving as decoration. That is probably because traditionally Chinese favored using red (and gold) for furniture decoration when it comes to color.

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