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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Imperial Palace, Peking

Accession Number

Imperial Palace, Peking

Eliot Porter

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date
1980; printed 1984

Medium & Support
dye transfer print on paper

12 15/16 in x 17 7/8 in (32.86 cm x 45.4 cm);16 in x 20 in (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Clayton E. Wilhite

Subject matter
Filling this photograph’s frame, the walls, stairs, banisters and shingled-rooftops of the Imperial Palace in Beijing encompass the entire view. The sharp focus of the camera flattens the image’s depth, and seems to compress the architectural features into a single spatial plane. Extending from the lower right corner of the image, a stairwell rises to the middle of the frame, beyond which is a door composed of three gold-leafed screens. The door is painted a bold shade of red, and is accented by gold leaf patterns. The russet red of the terra-cotta walls contrast with the blue-grey of the paving stones that make up the floor and lower part of the walls. Parallel to the banisters, which are made of yellow and green marble bricks, the slanting rooftops are composed of hundreds of motley terra-cotta shingles, each is a different shade of cadmium, russet, or grey.  The patterned opulence of the subject and the camera’s sharp focus render the image into a complex labyrinth of intersecting angles and shapes.

Physical Description
This photograph shows a view of stairs, doors, and banisters within the Imperial Palace in Beijing, China.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Ancient Chinese
historic structures
imperial palaces
landmark buildings
modern and contemporary art
royal doors

& Author Notes

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