Walk: Not Really
Distance: A few cold, windy blocks, home yoga
Kublai Khan as the First Yuan Emperor, Shizu. Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), Album leaf, ink and color on silk.
Ciwt liked this portrait from Asian Art Museum's current The Emperors' Treasures show for its bold, straight-forward portrayal. You don't have to know you are looking at a conquering emperor to know this is a solid, powerful person. The show's curator, Jay Xu has this to say about the portrait:
We know Kublai Khan as a warrior: he conquered China, and made it part of a huge empire. And to a Chinese audience, his facial features, his dress was and is immediately seen as not Chinese; but the portrait is. I respond to faces, I think we all do, and they give us a chance to have a dialogue with someone very different from ourselves. This portrait shows a nomad who had to rule an ancient civilization that was very settled, very sophisticated, and the painting lets us imagine how he reacted to this unfamiliar world. It’s a question historians are continuously trying to answer, and it remains as fresh as ever.