From the Desk of Tom Collins

From the Desk of Tom Collins

Interesting Comment from
Marcelle Comeau
Just for fun I cut and pasted the chinese symbol from the upper right
of the photo into google images (just the symbol) and the name of the
artist came up in one of the links. I them tried the same thing for the
symbol on the upper left and links to the actual image came up. I was
just playing to see what the computer would do with those symbols.
Pretty amazing...

Marcelle Comeau
Direction of the Horse's Head
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!
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Enter Contest
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Quiz #429 - February 16, 2014
1. In honor of what occasion was this picture painted?
2. Who painted it?
3. Where can you view the original?
Thanks to Quiz Poet Laureate Robert Edward McKenna for submitting this quiz.
To see the results of our 11th Occasional Photoqiz
TinEye Alert
You can find this photo on,
but the quiz will be a lot more fun if you solve the puzzle on your own.
Giuseppe Castiglione
(Lang Shining)
1.  Ayusi's victory for the Ch'ing Army in 1755.
2.  Lang Shih Ning (Giuseppe Castiglione)
3.  The National Palace Museum, Taipei.
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Janice M Sellers                Arthur Hartwell
John Thatcher                Judy Pfaff
Tom Collins                Daniel Jolley
Jim Kiser                Ida Sanchez
Carol Farrant                Edna Cardinal
Nelsen Spickard                Carol Farrant
Tynan Peterson                Diane Burkett
Cynthia Costigan                Kim Richardson
Owen Blevins                Patty K
Marcelle Comeau                Mike Dalton

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Team Fletcher
Comments from Our Readers
A very interesting quiz. A very rich yield of information. The picture is sublime, it
reflects a period of great upheaval in the Chinese empire. The artist was prolific,
very accomplished, and had to accede to his clients dictates!  So much for the
integrity of art!
Tom Collins
Loved this quiz and love this ink drawing! (Of course I do, it's Italian!) I thought it
was Mongolian (and it was misidentified on the Internet as being a
Zunghar/Mongolian warrior), but Ayusi was definitely in the Qing Army. It was a
good example of when the wrong answer can lead you to the right answer!
Thanks, Colleen!
Tynan Peterson
Gung Hei Fat Choy (spelling questionable)  better late than never. Good grief, it was
painted by an Italian!  Who would have guessed?  
Carol Farrant
Hehe, your visit to the Taiwan Museum [and having the tour in French] reminds me
of when I was in Madrid and had to listen to the Menina's explanation in Catalan,
ask for the time in Italian and request help with my luggage in English.

I remember seeing the brochure for 100 horses at the Met (the Chinese pavilion is a
true joy to visit, yet I'm sure the Taipei Museum is 1000 times that), the association
came immediately after I saw the painting.

But believe it or not, what called my attention the most about Casteglione was not
that he was Italian, but that he was a Jesuit. Since they took care of all my formal
education and I'm still part of their extended community, I'm always thrilled when I
find them in very unlikely places.
Ida Sanchez
Hi, Colleen. Thanks to both you and Robert Edward McKenna for an entertaining
quiz. I found the image by trial and error googling with Google Image but it took a
while to get past those sword guys at until I followed the link
from the poster of this image on that site to a painting that seemed to be by the
same artist. I tracked that image back through the National Palace Museum in
Taipei's site to find the artist, googled a little more to finally get back the National
Palace Museum's site to this image.
Patty K
This one was not difficult in identifying the name of the artist but became a bit
more complex trying to find the actual painting depicted and the story behind it.  
Did find several good books published on the Qing dynasty and China's march to
the west.  However, the tale about how Ayusi came to be a hero varied from source
to source.  So I took a middle of the road approach on the tale.
Edna Cardinal
What am amazing quiz! I just love this art - now I want to visit that museum. I
agree with you about the balance in this work and chinese art in general. How lucky
that you were able to visit this Art Museum. In reading the info about it, they seem
to have an amazing collection. Thank god so much survived the Cultural Revolution.

Just found this blog about this particular painting, rather like it, especially the part
about how to hang it (which direction the horse's head should face). In chinese art,
every little detail is significant isn't it. Hope the link works, it looks a bit strange! It
did work for me when I checked it.

Just for fun I cut and pasted the chinese symbol from the upper right of the photo
into google images (just the symbol) and the name of the artist came up in one of
the links. I them tried the same thing for the symbol on the upper left and links to
the actual image came up. I was just playing to see what the computer would do
with those symbols. Pretty amazing...
Marcelle Comeau
Lovely painting from this artist - an interesting man.
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
Team Fletcher

How Ida Solved the Puzzle
This was a misleading process with partial clues.  First I just googled
"Chinese warrior horse" and went to images.  Found in Wikipedia a
portrait of Wu Fu in a handscroll and recognized the technique.  It did
not cite the author, but it mentioned the year, the dynasty, and the
emperor in turn.  

Due to the Year of the Horse that just started, several websites place
this picture and below they mention "100 horses" by Castiglione.  
Bingo, that's it!

Except that the Taipei Museum has its website down.

So I ketp looking, qing dynasty hand scroll, and another one
appeared, same technique.  It did mention it was, indeed, Castiglione,
so I only needed to find the name of the piece.  Finally one of the
websites that uses it, gave credit to Wikimedia Commons and dated it
at 1755. A Google search with the Chinese name of the artist and the
date gave me the file and the name in Chinese.

Googling "Giuseppe Castigilone 1755 honor" led me to the website
that best describes the artwork:

But the best part was googling the title of the piece in Chinese.

and finding a listing that explained the history and the poem as a
whole (mentioned above).  I guess the Emperor Qinglong succeeded
in making sure Ayusi was remembered in posterity.

Ida Sanchez
Giuseppe Castiglione, S.J. (July 19, 1688
– July 17, 1766), was an Italian Jesuit lay
brother who served as a missionary in
China, where he became a painter at the
court of the emperor.

Castiglione was born on July 19, 1688, in
the central San Marcellino district of
Milan, Italy, the site of a renowned
Botteghe degli Stampator painting studio.
As a youth, Castiglione learned to paint
from Carlo Cornara at the studio, and he
also came under the influence of the
famous painter Andrea Pozzo, a member
of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at
Trento. In 1707, at the age of 19,
Castiglione formally entered the Society
and traveled to the prosperous city of
Genoa for further training. By this time,
he had already achieved some repute as a
painter and was invited to do wall
paintings at Jesuit churches. At the age of
27, he received instructions to go to
China as a missionary. Along the way, he
did wall paintings in the St. Francis
Borgia in the Church of the novitiate,
today Coimbra's Cathedral in Portugal,
and completed a painting of the
circumcision on the main altar of the
church. He also did wall paintings in the
Jesuit church in Macau.

Castiglione's style was based on the
emphasis on color, perspective, and light
found in Italian Renaissance art. In China,
where Castiglione went by the Chinese
name Lang Shining, he came to the
attention of the Qianlong emperor (r.
1736-1795) and served as an artist for the
court. Castiglione eventually became a
respected painter and earned the
appreciation of the Qianlong emperor,
which was a considerable honor for a
foreign artist at the time.

Castiglione's work served as the subject
for a series of "Battle Prints"
commissioned by the Emperor to
commemorate his military campaigns.
Small-scale copies of his paintings were
shipped to Paris and rendered into
copperplate intagio before being returned
to China. A series of sixteen prints by
Castiglione and his contemporaries Jean-
Denis Attiret, Ignatius Sichelbart and Jean-
Damascène Sallusti were created in this

Following the taste and tradition of
painting in China, Castiglione was able to
forge a new style that combined elements
with his Western training in art. His
paintings were done with Chinese
materials but often incorporate Western
techniques of shading and atmospheric
perspective, imparting a sense of realism
to the native themes. Western style was
modified according to Chinese taste -
strong shadows used in chiaroscuro
techniques were unacceptable as Emperor
Qianlong thought that shadows looked
like dirt, therefore when Castiglione
painted the emperor, the intensity of the
light was reduced so that there was no
shadow on the face, and the features
were distinct.

In addition to his demonstrable skill as a
painter, he was also in charge of
designing the Western-Style Palaces in
Emperor Quinlong
Empress Xiao Xian
The Qianlong Emperor chasing a deer
on a hunting trip
Ayusi assailing the rebels
with a lance
the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace. Furthermore, on behalf of the Church,
he sought and received protection for missionaries from the Ch'ien-lung Emperor.
Some of his earliest paintings done in China, such as "Assembled Auspiciousness" and
"A Hundred Steeds," are now in the collection of the National Palace Museum.
Castiglione also left behind many portraits of the emperor and took part in cooperative
painting projects at court.

Even before Giuseppe Castiglione came to China, Western-style painting could be found
at the Ch'ing court. However, after his arrival and through his efforts, the techniques of
Western perspective and shading reached a peak of assimilation in certain aspects of
Chinese painting, forming a style that seamlessly combined the techniques of Western
realism with the aesthetics of Oriental appreciation. During the reign of the Ch'ien-lung
Emperor, these ultra-refined and opulently colored works merging Chinese and Western
art became some of the most brilliant and fascinating images to symbolize the
prosperity and cultural vision of the Ch'ing court.

This prominent Jesuit artist, architect, and missionary died in Beijing in 1766.
A Hundred Steeds
Lang Shih-ning (Giuseppe Castiglione, 1688-1766), Ch'ing dynasty
Handscroll, ink and colors on silk, 94.5 x 776.2 cm

This is an early painting by Giuseppe Castiglione, one of the most famous Europeans in
the service of the Ch'ing dynasty court. This handscroll more than seven meters long
depicts a scene of taking a herd of horses out to pasture in autumn. The hundred steeds
are shown in a variety of poses and activities as they leisurely make their way around
the pastures and trees. Castiglione, using refined gradations of light and shadow, has
rendered an exceptionally realistic scene. Although the painting compositionally
represents a continuation of traditional arrangements of herding horses in Chinese art,
the placement and depiction of the trees and landscape elements clearly reveal the deep
atmospheric effect often found in Western art. Even the sizes of the horses vary with
the distance and are shown in relative proportion. Likewise, the painting method for the
distant mountain rocks is distinct from that seen in traditional Chinese brushwork, with
layered pigments also seen among the trees.
Macang Lays Low the Enemy Ranks
Lang Shih-ning (Giuseppe Castiglione, 1688-1766), Ch'ing dynasty
Handscroll, ink and colors on paper, 38.4 x 285.9 cm

Macang was a warrior in the Ch'ing troops honored for his effort in pacifying the
Western border regions. Accompanying Vice General Fu Te in a punitive expedition
against the Dzungar tribes, he managed to penetrate deep into enemy troops, leaving his
horse behind and eventually being wounded in battle. For his efforts, he was promoted
to the rank of Guard Commander-general. At the end of this handscroll is a eulogy from
the brush of the Ch'ien-lung Emperor (r. 1736-1795) praising Macang's deeds, ordering
that they be rendered in painting to honor him. In the painting, Macang is shown
reaching back for an arrow to finish off the wounded enemy he is chasing. Along with
the spear on the ground, the combined number of weapons accurately reflects the
record of him downing the enemy in three strikes. According to the imperial inscription
by the Ch'ien-lung Emperor, this painting was done in 1759.
Paired Cranes in the Shade with Flowers
Lang Shih-ning (Giuseppe Castiglione, 1688-1766),
Ch'ing dynasty
Hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk, 170.7 x 93.1 cm

On a gentle slope where rose bushes bloom are two pairs of
red-crested cranes, one adult and the other chicks. An adult
stands on one leg and careens its neck to preen its feathers
while the other looks back and down at the two chicks who
have yet to molt, as if responding to and taking care of them.
The rendering of the cranes' feathers is very realistic and true
to life, not just in the details but also the glossy luster. This
treatment of sheen further characterizes the plants shown
here, too, with the rose and iris blossoms rendered with equal
attention to detail. The theme of crane chicks was not
previously common in Chinese painting, but the Ch'ien-lung Emperor once wrote a
verse on the subject: "Not until crane chicks come out of their shells, can they thus
reach to the skies." Perhaps the upright position of the chicks in this painting was
meant to echo the emperor's sentiments.
Giuseppe Castiglione
(1688-1766) does not exist for
Chinese, but Lang Shining lives

Lang is the Chinese name of the
Italian man who spent most of
his life in China and died there,
too. He came to China as a
missionary but died known as a
painter. Three Qing Dynasty
emperors liked his art. His
paintings sell for millions of
dollars today.
I love his painting, Ayuxi on Horseback. The painting itself is an
evidence of mastery of a foreign culture. I love the strong horse with
tender eyes and the man, Ayuxi, who is ready, resolute, yet relaxed.

I bought the poster in the National Palace Museum of Taiwan. If you
only have time to see one thing in Taiwan, this museum is it.

1. The search:

Google image searches "Chinese warrior horseback bow and arrow"
Search with "Korean" found a similar image, described as Manchu
Search with "Manchu" found this picture - 20 rows deep

2. The find:

Book "China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia by
Peter C. Perdue"

Image is in the first "community review" of the book. Jul 13, 2013
Hadrian rated it 4 of 5 stars

Shelves: chinese, asian, economics-finance-business, history,
nonfiction, central-asia, society-and-culture, war  

Description of the painting:
The Zhungar warrior Ayuxi, Giuseppe Castiglione. National Palace
Museum, Taiwan. pg. 277.

You have conquered the empire on horseback; but can you rule it on
-Lu Jia, to the Gaozu Emperor "Liu Bang",
r. 202-195 BCE

3. More about the picture:

-Googled name of the picture "The Zhungar warrior Ayuxi, Giuseppe
Castiglione. National Palace Museum, Taiwan"

-Searched on the website for National Palace Museum

- Results For "Zhungar warrior Ayuxi" - found under artist's last
name, very prolific.  Must scroll to second page

Tom Collins