Female painters in late imperial era

Ma Quan

Updated: Mar 5, 2020 Print
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Ma Quan was a painter from Changshu in East China’s Jiangsu province. She was the daughter (some believe granddaughter) of the well-respected Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) bird-and-flower painter Ma Yuanyu, younger sister of Ma Yi, and wife of Gong Kehe.

Ma Quan studied painting theory with her father and brother throughout her childhood. Her husband was also a painter and a native of Changshu. She was celebrated for her bird-and-flower paintings while her husband specialized in landscape paintings. Inseparably, they toured the capital city of Beijing and made a living by selling paintings. After her husband died, she returned to her hometown to continue with painting and calligraphy. She enjoyed an even greater reputation in her later years.

Fan face depicting plants and insects by Ma Quan [Photo/]

Flowers and Insects
Dated 1723
Fan face, ink and color on paper, 17×48 cm
Collection of the Palace Museum
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Fan face depicting flowers on golden paper by Ma Quan [Photo/]

Dated 1738
Fan face, ink and color on golden paper, 17×51.1 cm
Collection of the Palace Museum
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