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Portrait of Boggodo, Prince Zhuang (1650-1723)
18th century

Qing dynasty

Ink and colors on silk
H: 373.5 W: 207.0 cm
China

Purchase--Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program, and partial gift of Richard G. Pritzlaff S1991.78

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The size of this scroll and its ornate red-gold brocade mounting well complement the sumptuousness of the elaborate furnishings. Boggodo's high cheekbones were signs of great authority in traditional Chinese conventions governing physiognomy (the reading of facial features). His rather meek expression contrasts with the magnificence of the setting, but the calm demeanor is typical of ancestor portraits. It may also be an accurate reflection of the man, who was not active in official life. Perhaps this was just as well, given the tumultuous court politics of his day.

Boggodo wears a winter chaofu, the court's formal attire, and the three-eyed peacock feather adorning his hat signifies high imperial favor. The emperor could award members of the court the right to wear a peacock feather with one, two, or three eyes, with three being the most prestigious.