Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portraits of members of a Manchu family

Unidentified Artist
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
mid-19th century
Album of nineteen leaves; ink and color on silk
13 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (33.3 x 35.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift, 1952
Accession Number:
Not on view
Portrait albums are rare, and this one, which seems to depict an entire family, is particularly unusual. The clothing indicates that the subjects were Manchus, the ethnicity of the ruling Qing dynasty (1644–1911). Several of the men wear “rank badges”—textile squares or circles indicating their official position within the Qing government. In each image, objects of refinement—books, fine furniture, scholar’s rocks—are carefully placed around the sitter to indicate his or her sophistication. This album is a touching document of one family’s attempt to record its ideal self-image.
Related Objects

Mandala of Vajradhara, Manjushri and Sadakshari -Lokeshvara

Date: dated 1479 Medium: Tangka; ink, opaque watercolor on gold Accession: 1985.392.2 On view in:Not on view

Maharana Sangram Singh II Hunts Hares at Naramangra

Date: ca. 1720–30 Medium: Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Accession: 1996.45 On view in:Not on view

Towing a Boat in a Rainstorm

Date: late 12th century Medium: Fan mounted as an album leaf; ink and color on silk Accession: 47.18.83 On view in:Not on view

Bhadra, The Sixth Luohan

Date: dated 1345 Medium: Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Accession: 47.18.103 On view in:Not on view

Man Sleeping on a Bamboo Couch

Medium: Album leaf; ink and color on silk Accession: 47.18.147 On view in:Not on view