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Further Reading

Note 1: "Nanxun Hall" and "Imperial Portraits"

     In 1747, Emperor Gaozong (1711-1799, reign name Qianlong) learned that a set of portraits for rulers and officials was stored in the "Tea Storehouse" at court, upon which he ordered that they be repaired and remounted. In the following year, 1748, the project was completed and the imperial portraits among them moved for storage to the Nanxun ("Southern Fragrance") Hall. Currently, more than ninety percent of these portraits are in the collection of the National Palace Museum, while those of meritorious officials remain at the Palace Museum in Beijing.

     Nanxun Hall, the construction of which began in the Ming dynasty, is situated in an independent courtyard to the southwest of Wuying Hall. The wood and painting of the building are all original from the Ming dynasty, making it a precious example of architecture from that time. The building itself is five rooms wide and has an inner main hall along with subsidiary rooms that each have a five-story red-lacquered cabinet to hold portraits of rulers through the ages. The room east of the main hall was originally for portraits of empresses through the ages, and stored in the western room were the imperial jade tablets and seals of the Ming dynasty.

Note 2: "Art Conservation" 270 Years Ago

     The repair and remounting for most of the imperial portraits was finished in 1748. Gaozong (the Qianlong emperor) had chosen for these portraits a special silk mounting decorated with eight-petal floral patterns. The labels attached after remounting include not only the posthumous temple name of the figure but also the date of remounting: "Remounted in the 'wuchen' year of Qianlong." Each portrait scroll also has a specially made "bag" made of yellow silk decorated with cloud patterns that were carefully stored at the Nanxun Hall. This demonstrates how much attention Gaozong paid to the repair, remounting, and storage of these imperial portraits from previous dynasties.