Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

Works on display that are part of our guided tour and activities on 9/11/19

Ancestor Portrait, Male Official

Accession Number
1951/2.29

Title
Ancestor Portrait, Male Official

Artist(s)
Chinese

Artist Nationality
Chinese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1870-1930

Medium & Support
hanging scroll, ink and color on paper

Dimensions
53 3/4 in. x 26 in. ( 136.5 cm x 66 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Otto Au

Label copy

Ancestral portrait, male official

China
Qing dynasty (1644–1912)
1870–1900
Hanging scroll, ink and color on paper Gift of Otto Au, 1951/2.29

For a viewer of the time, this painting and those like it offered a set of clues about the social identity and position of the person depicted. The topcoat, made from blue-black satin and edged with white fur, was worn by fourth- through ninth-rank civil officials. The type of bird on the coat’s rank badge is unusually difficult to determine since its tail feathers are ambiguous. But paired with details like the hat’s gold finial, this man’s status as a ninth-rank civil official
(the lowest) with a paradise flycatcher rank badge becomes clear. While the ambiguity could be the fault of the painter, some badges were made purposefully ambiguous so that the wearer might be perceived as having a higher rank.

The small, plain, stiffened fur collar indicates the season is winter and helps to date this work to the second half of the nineteenth century, when such collars were fashionable. The type of collar also indicates this is the informal style of dress rather than full court dress, as does the hat, a winter style used in informal settings.



Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
hanging scroll

Additional Object Classification(s)
Painting

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Portraits

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved