Large and impressive hanging scroll
A very large and impressive hanging scroll, an ancestral portrait, image area 172×94 cm. Watercolour, heightened with white.
We are still researching this piece. However, we believe it to date from around 1900. The painting depicts the Chinese Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) and the Dowager Empress Cixi (1853-1908). It is showing some signs of its age: it has clearly been kept rolled and has been compressed producing creases. Nevertheless, the colours are still extraordinarily vivid, as a result of it being kept in storage.
The Dowager Empress Cixu (1853-1908) was the aunt of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908). When her own son, Emperor Tongzhi, died she chose the new Emperor personally. He lived and operated under her strong influence and died at the young age of 37 years. Scientists have only recently firmly established that he died from arsenic poisoning. His aunt died the very next day provoking many competing conspiracy theories.