Camerino Pacific-Rim Art

Wang Chao-chun is one of the Four Great Beauties of
China.  She was one of several thousand concubines of
Emperor Yuan of the Western Han dynasty (around 40
B.C.).  It was the custom for each lady to have a portrait
painted, for that was how the monarch would select his
companion for the evening.

Now Mao, the court painter, was very corrupt.  He solicited
bribes from all the women he painted.  When he came
before Wang Chao-chun, she steadfastly refused to submit
to his thinly veiled extortion attempt, confident that her
natural beauty would win out in the end.  In malice, Mao
added an ugly birthmark to Wang Chao-chun's face in the
portrait, ensuring that she would never receive the
emperor's favors.

A few years later, Emperor Yuan negotiated peace with the
barbarians.  To cement the deal, he agreed to give "a Han
beauty" to the barbarian king.  Not wishing to give a real
beauty, the emperor looked at the portraits of all the
women in his harem, and chose the ugliest he could find:
Wang Chao-chun.  Not until she was on the point of
departure did Emperor Yuan see her in person for the very
first time.  Indeed, she was the most beautiful woman he
had ever seen in his life.  The emperor wanted to renege
on his promise, but his ministers warned there would be
further bloodshed and warfare, so reluctantly, he had to let
her go.  But because of her courage and self-sacrifice, she
brought peace to the two nations for many years
Peerless Beauty
30" x 22" Gicle'
e
Print: $895.00
Limited Edition
to 88
by Caroline Young