“These paintings no longer exist. But similar illusionistic murals can still be seen today in the Yihe Studio inside the Ningshou Palace. These ‘bookshelf’ images remind us of the chaek-ga-do (scholar’s accoutrements) pictures popular in the Joseon dynasty on the Korean Peninsula, and may indicate the latter’s origin. Positioned before and behind the mirror door, these trompe l’oeil paintings further heightened optical illusions in this part of the Hall of Mental Cultivation.

     Another type of large mirror frequently recorded in the Yongzheng section of the Workshop Archives is the ‘mirror-screen with half legs’ mentioned earlier. As this name indicates, it resembles a free-standing mirror-screen in form and size, but is actually attached to a wall, out of which its front ‘half’ legs seemingly protrude. A pair of such screens still exists in the Forbidden City… they constitute a key component of a fascinating building called the Studio of Exhaustion from Diligent Service (juanqin Zhai).” 

Hung, Wu (2022). The Full-Length Mirror: A Global Visual History. Trans. Mia Yinxing Liu. Reaktion Books. London. p. 66

Hands-full of rabbits with mischievous eyes eat leaves.

Their place is bucolic: the black fissure wantonly straps the edges in.

glitch44, Sept 19, 2021

text, Aug 26, 2023