19th C. Chinese Pith Painting Portrait of Woman with Opium Pipe

Regular price $95.00

This is a Cantonese gouache painting on pith, mounted to good weight backing paper (blue ribbon runs around the perimeter of the pith paper and is what holds the painting to the larger backing paper), which I believe would originally have been housed in a portfolio containing a set of six or twelve, together portraying a selection of court figures in fine dress, perhaps the emperor and empress, too. I love this woman for the opium pipe in her hands, and for her long, almost Pontormo-esque face, and of course for the wonderful color and ornate decoration covering every inch of her costume. Lovely, and appropriately, given the pipe in her hands, feeling very much like a vision from another world. Mid to late 19th c.

Gouache on pith mounted to paper, with pale blue ribbon border. Overall size: 9 11/16 x 13 5/8. Overall good antique condition, with two tears to the pith paper (in the unpainted background, one upper right, one lower right), which are stable and protected thanks to the stronger paper behind. Also a few stains and light wear around the edges of the paper. All as documented.