Facing up to the past

Updated: Sep 6, 2022 By Lin Qi China Daily Print
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The National Museum of China is showing historic portraiture from its collection, including portraits of high-class women. [Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

Qi sometimes received urgent commissions. He was summoned to clients' residences and made portraits of the families' elder members who had just died. As soon as he finished the job, he would receive the payment on site.

Whatever they were used for, past portraits as pictorial documents provide information to people today, regarding social systems, economic development and cultural trends in different periods of time. Such paintings also show how people earlier viewed the real world and the afterlife.

Following the success of Harmony of Figures and Spirits, an exhibition of vintage portraiture in its collection, two years ago, the National Museum of China is presenting another exhibition dedicated to this genre of painting from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The long-term exhibition, Faces Glorified With Colorful Pigments, is showing over 50 portraits from the National Museum of China's assemblage.

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