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A FINE PAIR OF EMBROIDERED MIDNIGHT-BLUE SATIN IMPERIAL PRINCE'S PURSES
A FINE PAIR OF EMBROIDERED MIDNIGHT-BLUE SATIN IMPERIAL PRINCE'S PURSES

LATE 18TH/MID-19TH CENTURY

Details
A FINE PAIR OF EMBROIDERED MIDNIGHT-BLUE SATIN IMPERIAL PRINCE'S PURSES
LATE 18TH/MID-19TH CENTURY
Each of midnight-blue satin finely embroidered on both sides in white with three variations of wan-medallions and a seal script wan character worked in outline, with orange silk drawstrings and tapes
4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm.) long (2)
Provenance
Private collection, London, 1998.

Lot Essay

Dark blue silk purses, such as these, either left plain or embroidered, appear to have been worn only with the most formal court attire, chaofu, during the Qing dynasty. Included in the Qianlong Huangchao liqi tushi (Illustrated Precedents for the Ritual Paraphernalia of the Imperial Court) issued in 1759 and promulgated in 1766, are two illustrations of pairs of dark blue purses shown suspended with other accessories from a court belt. See The Complete Treasures of the Palace Museum - 51 - Costumes and Accessories of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 2005, p. 7 (bottom), opposite an illustration of a chaofu and again on pp. 9 and 11 along with a court necklace and a chaofu to illustrate correct formal court attire. Two court portraits show similar embroidered dark blue purses being worn along with a yellow chaofu and full formal court attire by the emperors Kangxi and Jiaqing. See Wan Yi et al., Daily Life in the Forbidden City, New York, 1988, p. 55, pl. 66, for a portrait of the emperor Kangxi, and p. 129, pl. 178, for a portrait of the emperor Jiaqing.

A similar blue purse embroidered in white can also be seen in Portrait of the Qianlong Emperor at the age of twenty-five, attributed to Giuseppe Castiglione, c. 1736, now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and illustrated by Chuimei Ho and B. Bronson, Splendors of China's Forbidden City; The Glorious Reign of Emperor Qianlong, London/New York, 2004, p. 59, fig. 53. (Fig. 2) Compare, also, a similar pair of purses dated to the Yongzheng period included in the exhibition, The Forbidden City: Court Culture of the Chinese Emperors (1644-1911), Boymans Museum, Rotterdam, 1992, p. 186, pl. 37. (Fig. 1)

One of these purses contains a paper inventory label inscribed in black ink, Fujin de he bao, which may be translated, 'Fujin's purse', and a date, 54th year, 12th month, 29th day. Fujin may refer to a proper name or the court title of a wife of a prince. (Fig. 3)

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