Portrait of the Second-rank Guardsman Namjar 二等侍衛那木查爾像 - ROM2012_13049_3


Portrait of the Second-rank Guardsman Namjar 二等侍衛那木查爾像

Maker: Unknown artist
Medium:Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk
Geography: China
Date: 1760
Period: Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795)
Ht. 266 x Wt. 109.5 cm
Object number: 923X56.8
Not on view

This work belonged to the second group of 50 participants of lesser merits ( in a set of 100 portraits commemorating meritorious officials) commissioned by the Qianlong emperor to commemorate his victory in 1759 over the Dzungars and Muslims on the northwestern frontier of China. The eulogy above the portrait is written in both Chinese and Manchu scripts. Namjar is depicted in military attire: over a grey robe with front and back slits, he wears a half-length coat of mail; below his waist is a pair of protective plates secured by a belt with inlaid gilt fittings. Completing the outfit are black satin boots and a winter ceremonial hat with metal finial and blue glass sphere, and a single-eyed peacock feather. Similar to all soldiers, he is equipped with a quiver of arrows, a bow, and a broadsword. Rendered realistically in three-quarter profile with Western painting techniques, his striking face impresses us with his personal distinctive marks – high cheekbones and damaged eyebrows. However, this well-executed but expressionless face is attached to a costumed torso executed in a stiff pose with emphatic contours. The inconsistency between the different painting styles and the levels of drawing skill is typical of every portrait in this set, jointly accomplished by the Jesuit painters and Chinese court painters.

The inscription reads:

Namjar, Second-rank Officer of the Guards and Damba Batūru


The bearded [enemies] cast aside their coats of mail.

Who could withstand this regiment?

Leading a hundred men,

[Namjar] attacked the front and rear [of the enemy camp].

They seized the Muslims’ firearms.

The Muslims all trembled with fear.

Mottled with iron rust,

They carried [the weapons back] on the left side of their saddles.

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