Oil on Canvas | 91.5cm x 91.5cm | The Cicada and the Plum Series
Wenxiu was the second wife of Puyi. She was actually his first choice before his advisers told him to marry Wanrong. She was 14 when they married and she became extremely bored and lonely with palace life as Puyi mainly ignored her. She eventually escaped and with the help of a friend managed to arrange a divorce from Puyi - the first ever royal divorce in Chinese Imperial history. It is said that she ended up becoming a school teacher and remarrying. The orchids in her hair are symbolic of the Chinese meaning for love and marriage, and the fact that they’re white refers to death and ghostliness adding another meaning to her marriage to Puyi.