young Manchu woman seated by a lacquer table on a garden terrace with bamboo growing at L; woman wears blue robe with Shou characters and has stylish hairdo decorated with flowers and jewels; on the table are a snuff bottle, a fan, a ju-i scepter and a vase of peonies; blue and white vessel with plant LLC; butterfly-covered box on floor beside table

Birthday Portrait of a Young Manchu Lady, c. 1800-1850

Unknown artist, expand_more

Ink and color on silkexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  2005.54.3

This aristocratic young woman wears a blue robe adorned with circular shou (longevity) characters, telling us that her portrait was commissioned to celebrate her birthday. She is seated at a lacquered table on a garden terrace, wearing a fashionable hairstyle and surrounded by refined and expensive objects. On the table near her elbow are a snuff bottle, fan, ruyi (wish-granting) scepter, and a porcelain flower vase. At her feet are a blue-and-white flowerpot and an unusual tissue container or sewing box, possibly made in Europe. Both objects are lavishly decorated with butterflies, an auspicious motif whose Chinese character (die) is a pun for the word meaning “age 70”—another way of wishing someone a long, happy life.

Details
Title
Birthday Portrait of a Young Manchu Lady
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2005.54.3
Curator Approved

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young Manchu woman seated by a lacquer table on a garden terrace with bamboo growing at L; woman wears blue robe with Shou characters and has stylish hairdo decorated with flowers and jewels; on the table are a snuff bottle, a fan, a ju-i scepter and a vase of peonies; blue and white vessel with plant LLC; butterfly-covered box on floor beside table