About Xue Baochai

Xue Baochai is one of the principal characters in the classic 18th-century Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. She is described as extremely beautiful and socially graceful, and her attributes complement those of her cousin Lin Daiyu. It has been suggested that the two women are complements of one another, with each having exactly the attributes of Cao Xueqin’s ideal woman which the other lacks.

Baochai is the daughter of Xue Pan and Wang Xifeng, and she is a distant cousin of Jia Baoyu. She is intelligent, kind, and compassionate, and she is also very talented in needlework and calligraphy. Baochai is initially attracted to Jia Baoyu, but she eventually realizes that he is not the right man for her. She eventually marries Jia Huan, who is a much more stable and reliable partner.

Baochai is a complex and well-developed character, and she is one of the most popular characters in Dream of the Red Chamber. She is a reminder that there is no single ideal woman, and that different women can be admirable in different ways.

About this Portrait

Chinese watercolor, on rice paper. Dream of the Red Chamber (1975-85)
Painted by Xiang Li


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