Young Cixi is based on Empress Dowager Cixi of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China (1861-1908).
I imagined Cixi as a young and delicate concubine entering the Forbidden City for the first time. Graceful, seemingly docile and vulnerable, she dares not look up. Though she does not yet know what the future holds for her, underneath her lowered eyelashes her eyes shine secretly with intense ambition and great expectation.
The youth of this powerful female monarch is shrouded in mystery, and has inspired much international speculation about her persona. Cixi started her political career as Lady Yehenara, a beautiful adolescent concubine selected for the Xiangfeng Emperor. She proved to be an ambitious woman and quickly moved up the ranks in the harem to a position of authority, eventually becoming an Empress and ruling China with absolute power for 47 years.
Custom dye sublimation print, antique Qing dynasty Kingfisher hair pin, 365 fresh water Pearls, 291 Turquoise beads, 470 Swarovski crystals, 39 cubic zirconia, 13 blue Opals, 10 Corals, 9 Tourmalines, 7 Rubies, Chinese Cloisonne beads, sterling silver accents. Manchu pedestal shoes are hand-carved, cast in bronze, plated with 24 karat gold, enameled and accented with 4 Rubies. Porcelain, china paint, mohair, industrial springs, leather. 13.5” (34.5cm) tall.