Chinese ancestral painting is finely painted depicting many generations dressed in their traditional clothing of the Qing Dynasty. The red ornate robes are decorated with gold painted sinuous dragons. The women are wearing elaborate crowns with kingfisher feathers. Paintings were commissioned by descendants. This is executed in the classic ancestral portrait style with the unsmiling subjects facing forward and seated on chairs with rounded backs, the men with hands and shoes showing and the women with their robes completely covering hands and feet. It dates to the Mid- 20th century. Size: 87" x 41".
After someone's death, the family of the deceased often commissioned an ancestor portrait conveying the accomplishments and status of the ancestor in Chinese society. These were then displayed at a family shrine or altar within the home where descendants burned incense, placed food offerings, and kowtowed to the image. Veneration of ancestors is an important part of Chinese life, and was believed to facilitate the family's ability to communicate with the spirits of their predecessors. All ancestors were painted with virtually the same expression - a symbolically somber and detached look - to suggest otherworldly status.
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