Reverse Glass Painting of Scholars' Objects

c. 1850
$1,880 USD
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W: 27.0" D: 1.0" H: 19.0"
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This colorful floral still life is a charming example of Chinese reverse glass painting. Popularized during the Qing dynasty, reverse glass painting requires an artist to essentially work backwards, starting with details and shading before adding color and form. Lending the finished work a subtle three-dimensional effect, this exacting technique doesn't allow for any corrections, and is only revealed to its full effect when the glass pane is turned around.

This example dates to the mid-19th century and depicts a group of scholars' objects and floral arrangements in a lovely palette of blues, greens, and pinks. On the right, a porcelain vase sits atop a stack of books, bearing a large pink blossom and branches laden with ripe fruit. On the left, a blue-and-white planter holds a miniature pine tree, a symbol of winter and longevity. The quiet scene is contrasted by a silvery mirrored background and set within a black wooden frame.

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