Arts Everyday Living: Art of the Last Chinese Dynasty–The Emperor’s Mysterious Concubine



Giuseppe Castiglione?, Consort Rong Dressed in Manchu Clothes or Portrait of Fragrant Concubine, mid-18th century, oil, Location unknown


The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 1644-1912. The Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799) was one of its major rulers who employed the artistically talented Italian Jesuit priest Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766) as court painter.  However, whether Castiglione created the striking portrait above is not definite.  Questions also exist about the subject identified as the consort of the emperor, a mysterious figure, perhaps a cross between a mythical figure and actual woman.


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