Emperor in disguise

Updated: 2014-08-19 07:25

By Deng Zhangyu(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Many of Yongzheng's portraits show that he enjoyed posing as ordinary people, be it a poet or a musician.

The Palace Museum's online store on taobao.com digitalized the paintings, bringing his "harsh personality" to life with a sense of humor by using software to marry different kinds of computer graphics.

One of the animations shows the emperor dressed as an ordinary man sitting by a river, washing his feet by moving one leg against the other.

Another frame has Yongzheng dressed as a hunter, shooting a bird in the sky. The caption reads: "You fly free in the sky but I can never catch up ... I feel tired."

"The paintings of the emperor in costume are different from what he did in real life. That "s strange. It may reflect the inner mind of the emperor to be an ordinary person instead of a ruler," says Zhang Yongjiang, a professor who teaches Qing Dynasty history at Renmin University.

Other rulers usually went to their mansions outside Beijing to avoid the scorching heat in the summer. But Yongzheng, says Zhang, never traveled out of the capital for leisure.

He spent most of his free time with painters, including Italian missionary Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), also known by his Chinese name Lang Shining, who became a popular court painter for the royal family.