100 Days of Art History Jinjins


Plate with Fairies

My periodic urge to learn more about Chinese art history strikes again. This is the fourth Chinese artwork I copied within 66 entries. Looking back, I don't think drawing myself into these artworks sends the same subversive message as when I do it to a painting in the Western canon. These entries are more about wanting to feel more connected to a tradition where people who look like me are the main characters. But ultimately I think that goal would be better achieved through a different project. This master copy series is better at examining my place in a Western society.

I found this piece in the Met museum's online collection. I wasn't able to find much Chinese art where the figures were large enough to see their faces clearly. But this one worked, and I thought the clothes were pretty and the deer would be fun to draw glasses on.

Speaking of plates with Chinese artwork on them, I later found this one which is a fun example of cross-cultural pollination. It's in the Dutch Rijksmuseum, and depicts the Roman gods Minerva, Venus, and Cupid in a Chinese style. Athena is in armor, but it's Chinese-style armor. And Venus has black hair bound up in two little buns--you never see that in Western depictions of her. Thought that was fun.

Reference image is from The Met, where this piece is today.

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