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This portrait of the Yongzheng Emperor, painted during his lifetime, shows the man as he wished to be seen – as a literati-scholar in the dynastic Chinese tradition. Emperor Yongzheng sits with his feet by a stove on a cold winter day, book diligently in hand, surrounded by the accoutrements of the literati: behind him, a shelf holding rare books, hand scrolls, and ancient ceramics. Before him sits a teapot and two red tea cups (known to have been in his collection and pictured below), next to a food box containing sustenance for long hours of study. To Yongzheng, a man at the pinnacle of society, with access to the wealth and wares of the empire at his command: this is what the accumulation of economic and cultural capital looked like.
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