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Chair for the imperial court
Place of Origin: China
Date: approx. 1750-1850
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Object Name: Furniture
Materials: Lacquered wood
Dimensions: H. 44 in x W. 26 in x D. 20 in
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Decorative Arts
Object Number: B60M28+
On Display: No

Description

Label:

清朝漆器剔紅眾仙慶壽圖紋扶手椅

Can you imagine sitting on this chair? Function was not the primary concern in making it, and the carving is so deep and intricate as to render it nearly unusable. The point then must have been display, and this is made all the more clear by the content of the imagery. The subject matter for both of these pieces is drawn from classical literature and, along with the lavish carving, is representative of the height of imperial court art of the Qing dynasty. If you are interested in the content, please read the following.

The theme for the decoration on the chair is a party hosted by the female immortal the Queen Mother of the West ( Xiwangmu). Xiwangmu's paradise is depicted as an elaborate palace, She appears in the central panel on the back of the chair; she holds a wish-granting scepter ( ruyi). Behind Xiwangmu are two women holding fans, at either side are women holding long stems of lotus and a tray with incense burner. The kneeling person in front of her presents a large peach, a sign of immortality. The three figures with a boy on a terrace outside the palace are the gods of happiness, wealth and longevity. On the sides of the terrace are seven of the eight immortals—the eighth immortal is shown floating over the water. Above are two female immortals riding phoenix; each is followed by a female attendant with a long banner. Riding in the clouds are two immortal men holding peaches.

The theme of a party of immortals is continued on the panels on the back of the chair and on the insides and outsides of the arms. If you look closely, you will see that every group of figures is hurrying on their way to the party carrying gifts of one sort or another. Look for more peaches and big jars of wine. There are clues that identify many of these figures as well-known immortals—clearly this was a party not to be missed.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014
Label:

清朝漆器剔紅眾仙慶壽圖紋扶手椅

Can you imagine sitting on this chair? Function was not the primary concern in making it, and the carving is so deep and intricate as to render it nearly unusable. The point then must have been display, and this is made all the more clear by the content of the imagery. The subject matter for both of these pieces is drawn from classical literature and, along with the lavish carving, is representative of the height of imperial court art of the Qing dynasty. If you are interested in the content, please read the following.

The theme for the decoration on the chair is a party hosted by the female immortal the Queen Mother of the West ( Xiwangmu). Xiwangmu's paradise is depicted as an elaborate palace, She appears in the central panel on the back of the chair; she holds a wish-granting scepter ( ruyi). Behind Xiwangmu are two women holding fans, at either side are women holding long stems of lotus and a tray with incense burner. The kneeling person in front of her presents a large peach, a sign of immortality. The three figures with a boy on a terrace outside the palace are the gods of happiness, wealth and longevity. On the sides of the terrace are seven of the eight immortals—the eighth immortal is shown floating over the water. Above are two female immortals riding phoenix; each is followed by a female attendant with a long banner. Riding in the clouds are two immortal men holding peaches.

The theme of a party of immortals is continued on the panels on the back of the chair and on the insides and outsides of the arms. If you look closely, you will see that every group of figures is hurrying on their way to the party carrying gifts of one sort or another. Look for more peaches and big jars of wine. There are clues that identify many of these figures as well-known immortals—clearly this was a party not to be missed.


Exhibition History: "Gorgeous", Asian Art Museum, 6/20/2014 - 9/14/2014