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The Empress and Mrs. CongerThe Uncommon Friendship of Two Women and Two Worlds$
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Grant Hayter-Menzies

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789888083008

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888083008.001.0001

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Portrait of a woman

Portrait of a woman

(p.231) 16 Portrait of a woman
The Empress and Mrs. Conger

Grant Hayter-Menzies

Hong Kong University Press

Katherine Augusta Carl was an artist who painted the portrait of Der Ling, daughter of Lady Yu. The portrait helped convince Cixi to allow Kate to paint her own portrait. What happened to Kate Carl, however, was much the same process as that which was transforming Sarah into an admirer and defender of China and the Chinese. As Kate was trying on the court gowns Cixi had had made for her, learning to use chopsticks and the Chinese language, exposing herself to the music, theatre, and ceremonials of Cixi's court, and studying the elderly woman whom she had come to paint and ended up adoring, Sarah was moving forward with her own larger project. It was an adjunct to the portrait: of building as many bridges between her world and that of Chinese women as she could and as they would allow.

Keywords:   Katherine Augusta Carl, Der Ling, Lady Yu, portrait, Cixi

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