Leng Mei, Portrait of a Lady, a hanging scroll painting

Qing dynasty, 18th century AD

'Painting of a beauty'

Leng Mei (active about 1677- about 1742) specialized in figure painting and belonged to the atelier of the Kangxi emperor (reigned 1662-1722). He arrived at the imperial court in about 1700, and took part in several of the painting programmes instigated by the emperor. These included illustrations commemorating significant events, such as the building of the summer palace at Jehol, and the emperor's sixtieth birthday.

This painting is known as a meiren hua ('painting of a beauty'), in a tradition dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-906) in the paintings of Zhou Fang (about 730-800). The lady sits on a rustic seat holding a book in her hand. The informality of her pose, her refined appearance and her diaphanous clothing suggest that Leng Mei may have been depicting a courtesan. The artist's skill can be seen in the delicate rendering of the textile design and the fluid lines of the drapery.

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More information


A. Farrer, The brush dances and the ink s (Hayward Gallery, London, 1990)

J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

K. Suzuki (ed.), Comprehensive illustrated cata (University of Tokyo Press, 1982)


Height: 90.000 cm
Width: 31.000 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1910.2-12.466 (Chinese Painting 171)


Wegener Collection


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