Chinese School, after 1864
Chinese School, after 1864
Chinese School, after 1864
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Chinese School, after 1864
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Chinese School, after 1864

The Taiping Rebellion – a set of ten battle scenes

Details
Chinese School, after 1864
The Taiping Rebellion – a set of ten battle scenes
pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and bodycolour, heightened with white on paper
each 21 ¾ x 35 ¼in. (55.4 x 89.5cm.)
(10)
Provenance
Chaoying Fan.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 10 April 1986, lot 40.
Literature
B. Smith and Wan-go Wen, China: A History in Art, New York, 1972, pp.270-71.
Exhibited
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Maritime Museum, The Dragon and the Eagle: American Traders in China, A Century of Trade from 1784 to 1900, Dec. 2019-April 2019, no.5.14 (six from the set of ten).
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Nicholas Lambourn
Nicholas Lambourn

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Lot Essay

The Taiping Rebellion was the bloodiest war of the 19th century, waged from 1850 to 1864 between the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (a religious, nationalist and political movement led out of Guangxi by Hong Xiuquan, the heterodox Christian convert and self-proclaimed brother of Jesus Christ) and the ruling Manchu led Qing dynasty. At their height the rebels, based in Tianjing (Nanjing), had control of much of southern China and ruled over 30 million people. Unable to take the Qing capital of Beijing, the Taipings were eventually defeated by the Xiang army of Zeng Guofan, Nanjing falling to them in July 1864 after a two-year siege.
The Taiping army typically wore a uniform of red jackets and blue trousers and wore their hair long. The army was two million strong, made up of Hakka, Cantonese and Zhuang, and consisted of corps of around 13,000 men. The Qing forces had over one million regulars (the Han Green Standard Army and the Manchu-Mongol-Han Eight Banner armies) supported by regional militias (such as Zeng Guofan's Xiang or Hunan army) and foreign mercenaries. Their elite force was called the Ever Victorious Army, led by European commanders.

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