LIKE A MASTERPIECE OF JADE
China, Qing Dynasty (dated 1796)
Ink and Color on Silk
172 cm x 103 cm
Being taciturn and honest to a fault
Is an innate virtue of your character.
In public office you serve everyone
like family and friends,
As if it were a common attribute demanded of any good man.
Such integrity will reward you generation
May you be blessed with good health and longevity.
In time there never was and never will be
such a masterpiece of jade as you.
(Homage from Zhang Konghui to his Uncle)
Inscription removed from the painting and pasted on the back
The depiction of the face in this painting is strongly emphasized. From the humble and serene expression of the lips, hinting a smile that refers to the profound wisdom of this official, to the benevolent gaze that confirms his openness to anyone seeking his advice and thus proves his altruistic nature. His sumptuous court dress, with its mandarin badge, is simply superb. The reference to jade is a clear allusion to the virtues of this stone.
(Excerpt from my catalog, “Glances from the Past” (Sguardi dal Passato), page 32)