Put it together!

Put it together!

Chinese Ancestor Portrait

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One of a Kind!

Destination: Malacca, Malaysia

Commissioned by a direct descendant and often painted posthumously, the Chinese ancestor portrait is used in ritual worship as a means of communication between the living and the dead. The artists who paint them typically have a book that contains sketches of different faces and relatives are instructed to pick out which features most closely resemble those of the deceased. In this beautiful example, the figures wear chafou, illustrious robes that only the upper ranks of society were permitted to don. Paintings like this one made their way to Malacca through the city’s prosperous Peranakan population, descendants of the Chinese merchants who arrived in Malaysia as early as the 15th century.


When Parameswara founded the Malacca Empire in 1400, he was determined to turn the port into a major trading destination. Besides setting up trade-friendly infrastructure, he actively courted the Chinese, both for com... Read More

Details and Dimensions

6 x 3.25 ft

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