Individuals In The Crowd

“Woman Writing”, by Miyagawa Shuntel (1873-1914)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020 (After another day the year turns.)

Google Arts provides daily a different museum image when I open a new tab. Today’s image (above) hangs in the National Museum of Asian Art. I didn’t know this artist nor could guess the era in which “Woman Writing” was created. A little research revealed the existence of many lovely pieces by Miyagawa.

This painting returned to me memories of an outstanding Chinese film, “Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace” (2018), on streaming channels.

This series stars the excellent actress, Zhou Xun, as Ruyi. It chronicles her marriage to Qianlong Emperor, from her rise as Step Empress to become full Empress. Although she’s his favorite, the road upward is paved with treachery. She begins as the emperor’s consort, and quickly learns to navigate the Royal Court’s treacherous politics, before she moves up in the ranks.

The Court is a highly competitive environment. Upon becoming Empress, Ruyi must survive numerous conspiracies that arise against her from those wanting to replace her. The Emperor Qianlong (Wallace Huo) also must survive related conspiracies. Together the two mature and change. Eventually, the pressures of the Royal Court overcome their long relationship, which erodes even when Ruyi is able to overcome the challenges.

The long series (71 episodes) is satisfying. Zhou Xun is excellent in the title role. She becomes wise, proud, and decisive. She proves herself capable of doing what’s necessary to keep herself alive, and to protect those she loves.

The series, directed by Wang Jun, is gorgeous to watch. Besides the capable cast, he employs outstanding cinematography, superb period costumes, and an eye-candy pallet of colors. He knits together these elements for a captivating telling of this tale throughout its episodes.

The thoughtful writing of Miyagawa’s “Woman” reminded me of Ruji. She and the Emperor each write often, and gracefully, using carefully-pointed brushes, and enjoying the process.

Dear Friends: I’ve written before about Ruji, and now reminded will re-watch the series. Diana

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