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Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
16 - 17 September 2010
New York, Rockefeller Plaza
A RARE LARGE IMPERIAL YELLOW-GROUND SILK BROCADE PANEL
KANGXI PERIOD (1662-1722)
The rectangular panel centered by the yoke of an untailored Imperial yellow chaofu for the heir apparent or a high-ranking prince, finely woven with two four-clawed dragons, each clutching a flaming pearl amidst clusters of ruyi-head clouds and above a rocky outcrop emerging from crashing waves tossed with auspicious symbols, all against a cloud-patterned yellow ground; the brocade border most likely taken from the same yardage as the central panel, and with a design of four-clawed dragons in pursuit of flaming pearls
88 x 72½ in. (223.5 x 183.5 cm.)
Acquired by the current owner in Washington, D.C., 1980s.
A similar panel, described as yardage for a formal court robe of the Kangxi period, is illustrated in Heavenly Splendour: The Edrina Collection of Ming and Qing Imperial Costumes, Hong Kong, 2009, no. 6, pp. 80-1, where it is noted the design is a continuation of the Ming style of decoration on formal court robes. Such designs can be seen amongst more than 600 textiles excavated from the Dingling Mausoleum, the tomb of the Wanli Emperor and Empress. Of particular note, is the fragment with similarly depicted dragons and other motifs illustrated in Catalogue of Relics from the Dingling Mausoleum I, Beijing, 2006, p. 402, nos. 531 and 532. See, also, the yellow-ground panel, very similar to the present example, illustrated by Huang Nengfu and Chen Juanjuan in Chinese Imperial Robes, Beijing, 2006, p. 70, no. 88, where it is dated late Ming.
A non-Imperial blue brocade robe, dated 17th century, with yoke woven with similar large dragons placed at the chest and back, was included in the exhibition, Heavens' Embroidered Cloths: One Thousand Years of Chinese Textiles, Hong Kong, 1995, no. 58, page 208.
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