When Women Ruled China: Empress Cixi's Power in Porcelain

NEW YORK |19 - 20 September 2023

This season’s Important Chinese Art auction will feature an impressive array of porcelains. The Levy Collection is one of the most comprehensive private collections encompassing important specimens of late Qing imperial porcelains. This collection is even more intriguing because it is a woman collector’s endeavor of assembling works commissioned by another woman, a womanly bond between the late Barbara Levy (1938-2021) and Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908). Cixi was the most powerful woman and controversial political figure in recent Chinese history. Her regency stretched over four decades, and she was the foremost patroness of late Qing court art, including porcelains. These porcelains’ dazzling colors, delicate decorations, and ambitious scales are the materialization of this formidable woman’s persona. Cixi’s sensibility in fashion, beauty, and refinement did not go unnoticed. It was appreciated by Levy a century after Cixi’s passing.

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