29 cm x 22 cm
Liang Shitai’s masterful portrait captures Li’s distinct authority and power. Li pensively looks away from the camera. It is as if the viewer is gaining a glimpse into the private thoughts of this important diplomat.
Li Hongzhang, one of the most powerful officials of the late Qing Dynasty, was a key figure in China’s industrial and military modernization. The politician, general, and diplomat served in key positions of the Imperial Court, including the premier viceroyalty of Zhili. He “rose to prominence in China as a brilliant general and then spent 25 years as the country’s preeminent diplomatic negotiator for the Qing Dynasty” (Xiaobing Li, China at War).