Cosplay in Paintings: How Emperor Yongzheng Led Multiple Lives

The emperor's other look could be cute. (Image: Weibo.com)
The emperor's other look could be cute. (Image: Weibo.com)

The Yongzheng Emperor was the fifth emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and his name literally meant “harmony and integrity.”

In history, Yongzheng was one of the most hardworking rulers. It is said he wrote over 8,000 words of comments and directions per day on official files, and took only limited vacations each year. The imperial life was stringent and monotonous. So Yongzheng invented a way to have fun and relax.

In his spare time, he asked the court painter to paint his portrait, but in roles other than the emperor. In these costume portraits, Yongzheng was no longer a serious emperor, but an ordinary person living a different life. He could be a hermit, a European, a fisherman…

You will be amazed by the Emperor’s boundless imagination.

Viewers can feel the Emperor’s longing for a free life in the paintings. These paintings were collected and are now kept in the National Palace Museum. Staff there have used digital technology to revive the Emperor’s multiple lives in the paintings.

Yongzheng is fighting a tiger, but in the European costume. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng fighting a tiger in European costume. (Image: Weibo.com)

Now the emperor is a hermit, playing an ancient seven-stringed instrument. (Image: Weibo.com)

Now the emperor is a hermit, playing an ancient seven-stringed instrument. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a lonely fisherman in a snowy day. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a lonely fisherman on a snowy day. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a Mongolian hunter, shooting...eh...a peacock? (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a Mongolian hunter, shooting… eh… a peacock? (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is an ancient gentleman, enjoying the cool in the garden. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng the ancient gentleman, enjoying the shade of the garden. (Image: Weibo.com)

He is writing calligraphy on a rock in the hills. (Image: Weibo.com)

He is writing calligraphy on a rock in the hills. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng  is a farmer, washing his feet by a river. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a farmer, washing his feet by a river. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a scholar, reading the book by the fire. (Image: Weibo.com)

Yongzheng is a scholar, reading a book by the fire. (Image: Weibo.com)

He is feeding the monkey with an apple. (Image: Weibo.com)

He is feeding the monkey an apple. (Image: Weibo.com)

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