A Chinese famille rose plate “Sanniang teaches her son”. Yongzheng / Qianlong

Decorated in the famille rose palette, depicting three Chinese ladies and two boys (one holding a scroll), in a cultured and luxurious lifestyle.

Period :
Yongzheng (1723-1735) / early Qianlong period (1736-1795)
8.66 in. (23 cm)
Reference :


The scene depicts “Sanniang teaches her son” (Sanniang jiao zi). This play is based on a story of the Ming dynasty. While preparing for the imperial exam in the capital, Xue Huang cures the emperor’s illness and thus becomes very successful in the capital. But his family in his hometown receives false news that Xue has died in the capital. There are two drama versions about the false news: one, his friend who steals his money, sends the wrong message to his home; two, his student’s death has been misinterpreted as his own death.

Nevertheless, the story takes place after the news of Xue’s “death”. After the false news arrives, Xue Guang’s wife and first concubine leave Xue’s home and get remarried, leaving the second concubine Sanniang, to raise Yi Ge, whose natural mother is Xue Guang’s first concubine. Sanniang supports the boy and herself by weaving cloth. At first, Yi Ge fails to do his homework again, and refuses to listen to Sanniang because she is not his real mother. Sanniang is so sad and angry that she breaks the unfinished clothes. Sue Bao, a faithful servant, intervenes and makes Yi understand that Sanniang’s love is more profound than the first concubine’s. Yi asks Sanniang to forgive him and promises to study hard. Yi excels in the imperial exam. Xue Huang returns to Sanniang with the emperor’s awards. They become happy family.

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