Emperor in disguise

By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-08-19 07:25:41

Emperor in disguise

The portraits of Yongzheng in different outfits may hint at the emperor's true wish to be an ordinary man rather than a ruler. Photos provided to China Daily

In a series of online animations, the Palace Museum presents Emperor Yongzheng in many roles, often laced with humor. Deng Zhangyu reports.

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What would an ancient emperor, who worked hard and was known for his taste in art, do for fun? He would dress up and pose for pictures.

On Aug 1, a series of flash (computer-generated) animations of Chinese Emperor Yongzheng (1678-1735) was posted online, to the delight of thousands of Chinese history buffs.

In the animations, the ruler, seen through his dynasty's despotic years, plays a fisherman, hunter, calligrapher, a man washing his feet in a river and even someone wearing European clothes and a wig, ready to strike a tiger with a trident.

Yongzheng was the fifth ruler of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The flash animations were produced by Beijing's Palace Museum and are based on an album of paintings called Yongzheng Xingle Tu (Yongzheng enjoying himself). It made a splash on social media, with about 820,000 views on Wechat and has been forwarded by thousands of people on micro blogs since it was uploaded. Many online users called him "adorable".

According to records of the time, the emperor rose before sunrise and kept working until late at night, often eating dinner at midnight because of his punishing schedule. One of his few amusements was to ask painters to draw pictures of him.

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