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Ancestor portrait

Ancestor portrait

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink and colours on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery, case 69

Ancestor worship was practised at all levels of society in ancient China. Ancestor portraits were displayed together with offerings to the spirits of dead members of the family, and were brought out on special occasions like New Year and birthdays.

Physical description

Ancestor portrait of the wife of an official. The sitter in this portrait wears an ornate outer vest decorated with shou 壽 (longevity) characters and rising and descending dragons amid clouds. The vest sits over a blue robe decorated with dragons flanking a flaming pearl. She is seated on an ornate chair with a tiger skin cover, the tiger’s claws can be seen at the base of her robe and on the arm of her chair. The hide on the inside of the tiger skin has been marked with swastikas. The chair is decorated with polychrome floral motifs.

Place of Origin

China (made)


18th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ink and colours on paper


Height: 183.5 cm, Width: 112 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Dr H.G. Stockley in 1956, as one of a group of four paintings (E.360 to 363-1956). It is likely that Dr Stockley acquired these paintings when working as a medical missionary in North China from 1924-1927.

Descriptive line

Ancestor Portrait, 'Lu Tai Tai', ink, colours and gold on paper, China, 18th century.


Ink; Colour; Paper



Subjects depicted

Social status; Costume; Floral patterns; Dragons; Thrones; Wealth; History


Images Online; Paintings


East Asia Collection

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