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Imperial Authority in Art

In this type of social environment, evidence of polyethnic fusion can be seen from the depiction of figures in art to the works of art collected by the imperial clan. A Chinese Southern Song painting of a lohan Buddhist disciple from the imperial collection bears a large seal reading "Huangjietushu" ("Library of the Emperor's Elder Sister"), with the two characters of "Huangjie" ("emperor's elder sister") appearing especially clear. This Mongol princess admired the literary and artistic activities of the Chinese. In addition to her collection of art, she was also a major patron of the arts. As a member of a foreign ruling group, her sponsorship of "elegant gatherings" encouraged polyethnic scholars and officials in the empire to appreciate and create art during such exchanges. This opening of a new multicultural realm for the arts in China by the Mongols is perhaps even more important than the influence of their imperial authority on artistic activities.