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Lot 164: A large painting of a mother and child 19th/20th century
25 October 2016
Woollahra, AustraliaLive Auction
A large painting of a mother and child 19th/20th century
oil on canvas, depicting the young mother lying on one side nursing her infant son, her right hand raised supporting her head, the left resting on the child's leg, wearing a blue diaphanous robe over a pair of sheer deep pink trousers revealing her small bound feet in silk 'lotus' slippers, her face with porcelain like complexion and eyes in a direct gaze with a slight smile, her female attendant seated behind. all enclosed within blue draped curtains
65 x 102 cm
A painting of this subject from the Property of Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia, dated to the Qing dynasty circa 1870, was sold at Sotheby's, New York, 15 September 2015, described as one of a rare group of large scale paintings of intimate domestic scenes in Chinese art. The fine and early versions of this scene were very popular and may have served as prototypes for several versions on canvas and glass painted during the late 19th and early 20th century. Paintings of idealized beauties epitomised the thriving courtesan culture in Qing society. A glimpse into the secretive woman's world was an appealing subject matter commissioned initially by members of the wealthy mercantile class and later by Westerners who admired their exoticism.