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Sydney L. Moss Ltd

Chiao Ping-chen (active circa 1689 - 1726)

Chiao Ping-chen, tzu: Erh-cheng, from Ch’i-ning, Shantung, was a talented and highly ranked court painter during the K’ang-hsi period and into the early years of the Yung-cheng reign. He specialized in landscapes and figures, as well as superbly naturalistic flowers, and incorporated Western conventions of realistic depiction into his style.

One of the leading imperial atelier painters, Chiao collaborated on occasion with Lang Shih-ning (Castiglione), and the subject matter of his painting is, on occasion, of considerable art-historical value and rarity.

A scrawny lama-king sits in the yellow robes and pandita cap of a high priest of the Gelug (Yellow-Cap) sect, by a low rock table upon which a Tibetan sutra lies open. Behind him a cave entrance in the impressive rock face is furnished with a pair of solid wood gates, each adorned with a large t’ao-t’ieh mask ring door knocker.

The painter’s brief inscription identifies the subject as the fourth generation King of Tan-la, and signs his portrait: Chiao Ping-chen, with two seals of the artist.

The painting bears two collector’s seals of Ch’i Meng (Qi Meng), surname Aisin Gioro, a C20th descendant of the Manchu ruling clan and father of the painter, connoisseur and Member of the PRC Authentication Committee Qi Gong.

Ch’i Meng also wrote the painting’s title slip.

This painting dates from the period in the 1710s to circa 1720 when the K’ang-hsi emperor sought to annex the vast Central Asian region of Ch’ing-hai. Various local power brokers, both Tibetan and from the Tibetan culture regions of Ch’ing-hai, were brought to the capital for political romancing. While there, one such obscure figure had his portrait painted by Chiao. It is a considerably rare document.

all text & images Sydney L. Moss Ltd

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