Art/ Collection/ Art Object

清 佚名 乾隆頭等侍衛占音保像 軸
Portrait of the Imperial Bodyguard Zhanyinbao

Unidentified Artist Chinese, 18th century
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
dated 1760
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Painting and inscription: 74 1/4 x 37 7/16 in. (188.6 x 95.1 cm) Overall with mounting: 130 1/2 x 46 3/8 in. (331.5 x 117.8 cm) Overall with knobs: 130 1/2 x 50 1/4 in. (331.5 x 127.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1986
Accession Number:
Not on view
Under the Manchu emperors of the Qing dynasty, portraiture again became an important court-sponsored art. This full-length depiction of an imperial bodyguard of the first rank is from a set of one hundred portraits of loyal officials and valiant warriors commissioned by the Qianlong emperor (r. 1736–95) that originally hung in the Hall of Imperial Brilliance (Ziguang Ge), the pavilion in the Forbidden City where the emperor received tribute offerings and entertained foreign emissaries.

The poem inscribed in both Chinese and Manchu above the painting lauds Zhanyinbao's valor in combating nomadic rebels in the desert wastes of Central Asia:

Barehanded he rode the giant whale,
Capturing Weinuo in battle.
The bandits' heads were strung together
The length of his long lance.
With both hands he held open the declaration of war
All the way to Balikun [in Sinjiang Province].
Without [even pausing] to comb his horse's mane,
He returned and reported to his commander.
#7655. Portrait of the Imperial Bodyguard Zhanyinbao
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Inscription: No artist’s inscription, signature or seal


Liu Tongxun 劉統勲 (1698–1773), Liu Lun 劉綸 (1711–1773), Yu Minzhong 于敏中 (1714–1779), 10 columns in standard script, dated 1760:


Collector's seal

Qing emperor Qianlong 清帝乾隆 (r. 17360–1795)
Qianlong yulan zhi bao 乾隆御覽之寳
Private collection , Europe (until 1986; Sotheby’s New York, Fine Chinese Paintings , June 3, 1986, lot 90, to MMA)
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," April 2, 1996–July 7, 1996.

Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Mandate of Heaven: Emperors and Artists in China," August 3, 1996–November 10, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "When the Manchus Ruled China: Painting under the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911)," February 2, 2002–August 18, 2002.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Douglas Dillon Legacy: Chinese Painting for the Metropolitan Museum," March 12, 2004–August 8, 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City," February 1, 2011–May 1, 2011.

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