A rare painting on deerskin, the central cartouche decorated with a garden scene of red-roofed pavilions and ladies at scholarly pursuits; the scene flanked by a red-capped crane and a deer, both emblems of longevity. The lower panels decorated with a man dressed as a Ming grandee in a flowing red robe with front medallion and carrying a hu, symbol of office; a fan held above him by a servant. To the left and right decorative panels.
The cartouche framed by four feng huang: two female birds with even numbered curling tail feathers for the female element, yin; above the male birds, each with three serrated tail feathers: the uneven numbers of feathers representing the male element, yang. The birds decorated in the five fundamental colours of the five Confucian virtues: black, white, red, grey and yellow – the colour palette repeated throughout the painting.
Chinese, 18th/19th century
Width: 213.5 cms
Height: 183 cms
For another painting on deerskin of comparable size, see:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, depicting the Forts Zeelandia and Provintia and the City of Tainan, in south west Taiwan,
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