Qing Dynasty Reverse Glass Work - Three Figures with Peacock Fans

  • This unique work is a stunning display of artistry and a demonstration of cross-cultural exchange
  • Glass takes the place of canvas in this Qing Dynasty reverse glass painting
  • This tranquil composition features three figures holding Peacock fans
  • Spurred by the Jesuit missionaries and fueled by trade, reverse glass works became prized exports
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-6151

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Glass takes the place of canvas in this Qing Dynasty reverse glass painting dating to the early 19th century. This intricate painting features three figures dressed in elaborately detailed textiles. The composition is bisected by a paneled roof and swirling cloud-like designs, with a peaceful landscape appearing in the distance. The figures raise large plumed peacock fans that cross each other to create graceful symmetry. In Chinese reverse glass works, artists painstakingly applied painted layers to the glass in reverse, with the top layer painted first and the background last. These paintings are viewed in reflected light, revealing an impressive gloss, luminosity and depth of color unattainable with other painting techniques. Due to the complexity of the process and the high level of artistic skill that it required, highly detailed examples such as this are only rarely found.

The art of reverse glass painting came to China from Europe in the seventeenth century. Spurred by the Jesuit missionary project and fueled by general international trade, reverse glass works became highly desirable export items. These paintings were not only the prized possession of wealthy European families in the 18th and 19th centuries, but also of the Imperial Court. Today, historical reverse glass paintings reside at the Forbidden City emperor’s palace in Beijing. This exquisite painting, complemented by an ornate chinoiserie frame, is a stunning achievement in artistry and also an amazing relic of international luxury trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Glass: 21 3/8" high x 9" wide
Frame: 24 5/8" high x 12 1/4" wide
Qing Dynasty Reverse Glass Work - Three Figures with Peacock Fans
Period: 19th Century
Origin: China
Type: Other
Depth: 2.0 Inches
Width: 12.25 Inches
Height: 24.63 Inches
Canvas Width: 9 Inches
Canvas Height: 21.375 Inches
Qing Dynasty Reverse Glass Work - Three Figures with Peacock Fans
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