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The First Series of 50 Portraits of Meritorious Officials Conquering Xinjiang

In 1760, the Qianlong Emperor commissioned his court painter, Jin Tingbiao, to paint the First Series of 50 Portraits of Meritorious Officers of the East Turkestan Campaign in handscroll format. The influence of European painting can be seen in the finely modulated parts of the face and the shades of the accessories. Only a few of these exist today, and all as individual fragments.

Jin Tingbiao (tätig 1757 – 1767), Porträt des Arigun, erste Serie von 50 Porträts verdienstvoller Offiziere des Ostturkestan-Feldzugs, Detail, China, Qing-Dynastie (1644 – 1911), datiert 1760
Jin Tingbiao (tätig 1757 – 1767), Porträt des Arigun, erste Serie von 50 Porträts verdienstvoller Offiziere des Ostturkestan-Feldzugs, Detail, China, Qing-Dynastie (1644 – 1911), datiert 1760 Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst
 
It is believed that the small portraits served as a preliminary study for the large hanging scrolls, which were on display in the Hall of Purple Splendour (Ziguangge). Both the small and large portraits were unlawfully removed from the Ziguangge, the hero gallery of the Qianlong Emperor, and brought from Beijing to Germany, probably during the suppression of the Boxer movement in 1900/01. Possibly before 1955, a previous owner has cut up the scroll for sale.

In this presentation, fragments from the collection of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst and the Kunstbibliothek are exhibited together for the first time and together with the fragment of the title with hymn written by the emperor himself.

This temporary presentation of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin was curated by Birgitta Augustin and is part of the permanent exhibition Ethnological Collections and Asian Art in the Humboldt Forum.
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