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{Edict for the Personal Rule of the T'ung-chih Emperor}
{Ayusi Scattering Rebels with Upraised Spear}
{Sandalwood curio box with carved dragon décor}

{Golden mandala inlaid with coral and turquoise}
Tripitaka in Manchu
{Jade seal of the Ch'ien-lung Emperor inscribed Ku-hsi t'ien-tzu chih pao}



Ayusi Scattering Rebels with Upraised Spear

Ayusi Scattering Rebels with Upraised Spear
Lang Shih-ning (Giuseppe Castiglione, 1688-1766), Ch'ing dynasty
Handscroll, ink and color on paper, 27.1 x 104.4 cm

      The K'ang-hsi Emperor (r. 1662-1722) personally led battles against the Zunghar tribe three times, finally bringing their submission to the Ch'ing as Outer Mongolia from this time acknowledged obedience to China. In the reign of the Yung-cheng Emperor (r. 1723-1735), however, the Zunghar leader Galdantseren rebelled again, and after a fierce battle, a peace settlement was agreed upon. In 1755, during the reign of the Ch'ien-lung Emperor (r. 1735-1796), the Zunghar khan Dawats and Tsarist Russia collaborated, leading to another rebellion. After a pincer attack led by Ch'ing armies, Dawats fled to the Ko-teng mountains northwest of I-li, where he became entrenched. The person in this painting, Ayusi, led more than 20 cavalry in successfully breaking their defenses, forcing Dawats to flee south to T'ien-shan, and thereby bringing the chaos of the Zunghar rebellion to a temporary halt.

      When Ayusi returned to court, the Ch'ien-lung Emperor, appreciating the fact that his military leader faced death in the remote border regions, had Giuseppe Castiglione paint a commemorative portrait emulating the portraiture of 28 meritorious officials of the Eastern Han dynasty at Yün-t'ai and 24 meritorious officials at the Ling-yen Pavilion in the T'ang. Though Ayusi's biography does not appear in Draft of the History of the Ch'ing, "being known to all for thousands of years" via this painting has also brought him honor.

      Castiglione, an Italian Jesuit who painted for the court and went by the Chinese name Lang Shih-ning, did this painting at the age of 66. He used the method of eliminating the background and focusing entirely on the figure and his mount. Ayusi as he appears here is wearing a peacock-feather warming cap and a protective suit, while strapped to his back is a musket rifle and to his waist a quiver of arrows. With one hand holding the reigns and the other a spear-lance, he concentrates in his heroic advance. The horse appears against a spotless background devoid of any rocks or trees, not even the ground. This suggests a sense of speed as if in flight, but also appears frozen in time, creating an extremely "moving" scene!