This is a French chromo lithograph by Racinet, circa 1870, beautifully printed with vibrant colors, even gold details, and it shows the Chinese Empress or first wife with a scepter on the left, and a younger wife smoking a pipe with the help of a servant.
(chromo lithographs are lithographs done with several inked stones instead of one)
The scene is of course directly inspired from a Canton rice paper painting of the 1860s, though not the kind we find on the market, as representations of the Imperial family very rarely surface.
Only the first wife (on the left) had the title of Empress. And she was the oldest, as portrayed in this scene. 3 others could also be called wives, though of the second rank (portrayed on the right) Everyone else was a Concubine, and the Emperor could, by law, have up to 130!
The young wife has nothing to do all day, and is leisurely reclining on a large Chinese bed. She smokes a pipe to kill time. One can easily guess what there is in the pipe!
The 2 Imperial wives wear one of these lavishly embroidered skirts we all love.
They also have bound feet in the picture, which is an anomaly as the Manchu women from the ruling Dynasty, didn't have their feet bound, but wore platform shoes instead. A detail the Canton artist obviously did not know.
On top of the piece is a border with typical Qing dynasty embroideries, the kind I often have in the store, ( Please check my ANTIQUES/By Period/Qing section) done against a traditional navy blue background.
A ravishing piece with super strong colors that will bring a touch of Imperial China to any decor!
MEASUREMENTS: Length: 8 5/8". Width: 7 5/8".
(22 cm) by (19.5 cm)
CONDITION: In very good condition. Very minor foxing in the margins. Beautiful quality.
Will be shipped Registered Airmail from Paris, (very safe!) including insurance and signature at delivery.
* * * * * * * * * * MORE ANTIQUE FRENCH PRINTS IN MY FINE ART/Antique CATEGORY* * * * * * * * * * *
Item ID: 2007pnt
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