Art/ Collection/ Art Object

清康熙 黑漆嵌螺鈿仕女圖屏風
Women in a Palace

Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Kangxi period (1662–1722)
late 17th century
Black lacquer with mother-of-pearl and gold-foil inlay
9 ft. 4 5/8 in. × 24 ft. 8 1/16 in. (286.1 × 752 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
Not on view
In China, images of a romanticized world, where elegant women spend their time dancing and playing music, often have historical overtones. Many such scenes are thought to allude to the richness of court life during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), an endless source for the antiquarian interests of the seventeenth century. Some also illustrate the tragic story of the beautiful Wang Zhaojun, who was sent by Emperor Yuan (reigned 75–33 B.C.) to marry a Xiongnu chieftain in an attempt to pacify these powerful barbarians. Although this screen does not show the standard scene of a painter rendering her image, it is interesting to note that a single horse is depicted standing beneath a willow tree in the center. This animal may represent Wang’s imminent departure from her safe, and luxurious, life at the court to the less sheltered world of the grasslands in the distant north.
Inscription: On the lower left side of the screen is an inlaid inscription with two seals. The inscription of eight characters reads: moling xianlinge zhuren zhi, giving the sobriquet of the owner or maker. The round seal reads: Yongshou tang (Hall of eternal longevity) and the square seal gives the name: "seal [of] Jiang Renfu."

(round seal) 永壽堂
(square seal) 江仁輔印
Related Objects

Goose and Reeds; Willows and Moon

Artist: Maruyama Ōkyo (Japanese, 1733–1795) Date: right screen: 1774; left screen: 1793 Medium: Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink, color and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.197.1, .2 On view in:Not on view

Rough Waves

Artist: Ogata Kōrin (Japanese, 1658–1716) Date: ca. 1704–9 Medium: Two-panel folding screen; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper Accession: 26.117 On view in:Not on view

Long Side Table

Date: 17th–18th century Medium: Wood (huanghuali or Dalbergia odorifera) Accession: 1976.193.9 On view in:Gallery 218


Date: 17th century Medium: Wood (huanghuali, or Dalbergia odorifera) Accession: 1976.193.6a–d On view in:Gallery 218

Altar Coffer

Date: 17th–18th century Medium: Wood (huanghuli or Dalbergia odorifera) Accession: 1976.344a–d On view in:Gallery 218