Subject:Re: Antique Chinese paintings on bone?
Posted By: Bill H Fri, Aug 09, 2019
These appealing portraits look to be gouache or tempura paintings on pith paper, not bone. Probably done circa 1900. The male figure in dragon robes and wearing a Manchu hat resembles other images I've seen of the Qing Daoguang Emperor (1821-50). See the link for another view of him. The female figure is wearing an upscale outfit albeit with no recognizable imperial symbols. Possibly the wife or a concubine of a wealthy comprador or bureaucrat.
The paintings look to be in rather good condition, but take care to keep them out of direct sunlight, high heat and humidity. Otherwise they're prone to foxing and mildew. If you have to remove them from the frames, be extremely careful, as pith paper tends to get very brittle with age, and these are likely past the century mark.
I've added an image below of a later depiction of the elevation to the throne of the Xuantong emperor (1909-11). The original frame for it had cuttings from a Chinese newspaper dated August 22nd, 1933 (22nd year of the Republic). Publication data with location of the newspaper was absent, but I tend to believe it and the painting are about the same age.
URL Title :Daoguang Emperor