A complete set of engravings commissioned to commemorate the Emperor Qianlong's victory in Central Asia (1755-1759), including scenes of battlefields, sieges and encampments, mostly set in rugged, mountainous terrain, as well as victory banquets, each titled and attributed to an artist and engraver, and mostly dated

A monograph by Michèle Pirazzoli-t'Serstevens, Gravures des Conquêtes de L'Emperor de Chine K'ien-Long au Musée Guimet, Musée Guimet, 1969, records and comments on the engravings. The order of prints listed in this lot follows the monograph. The French titles given follow Pirazzoli-t'Serstevens and the English titles are close translations of the French as are the descriptions of the scenes
Each approximately 22 x 35 7/16in. (56 x 90cm.), framed

1."The Submission of the Ili" ("On reçoit la soumission de l'Ili") This refers to the first submission of the Ili in 1755. The Chinese troops marched in spring and, upon reaching Kouldja, encountered no resistance
Drawn by Sichebart, 1765; engraved by Prevot, 1769

2. "Storming the Camp at Gadan-Ola" ("On Force le Camp (établi) A Gadan-Ola")
This depicts the scene where the Kalmouk Ayusi, who had defected to the Chinese side, stormed the camp on Mount Gadan
Drawn by Castiglione, 1765; engraved by Le Bas, 1769

3. "The Battle of Oroi-Jalatu" ("Le Combat d'Oroi-Jalatu")
The recapture of Oroi-Jalatu. The Chinese general Zhao Hui attacked the Djoungars by night, but the latter fought back until reinforcement Chinese troops arrived
Drawn by Castiglione; engraved by Le Bas, 1770

4. "The Victory of Khorgos" ("La Victoire de Khorgos")
The partisans of Amoursana were defeated in 1758 by Prince Cäbdan-jab Drawn by Attiret, 1766; engraved by Le Bas, 1774

5. "The Battle of Khurungui" ("Le Combat de Khurungui")
The battle occurred on Mount Khurungui where Zhao Hui ambushed the partisans of Amoursana during the night
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Aliamet

6."The Leader of Us (Turfan) Surrenders His City" (Le Chef d'Us [Turfan] Se Soumet Avec sa Ville")
Shows the surrender of the leader Huo Jisi of Us (Turfan) in 1758
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Choffard, 1774

7. "The Lifting of the Siege of the Black River (Khara-Usu)" ("La Levée du Siège de la Rivière Noire [Khara-Usu]")
Illustrates the final submission of the region of Kashgar. In 1758 there were still two rebel strongholds, one at Yarkand and one at Kashgar. Zhao Hui was unable to take Yarkand, moved east but was forced to retreat by the rebels, who lay seige to him at the Black River. In 1759, Zhao Hui learnt of the imminent arrival of relief troops, and so stormed the rebel town and brought the rebellion to an end
Drawn by Castiglione, 1765; engraved by Le Bas, 1771

8. "The Great Victory at Qurman" ("La Grande Victoire de Qurman")
In 1759 General Fu Te, with less than 600 men, battled and defeated over 5000 Muslims
Drawn by Damascene, 1765; engraved by St Aubin, 1770

9. "The Battle of Tonguzluq" ("Le Combat de Tonguzluq")
Possibly a famous episode which occurred in 1758 when Zhao Hui tried to take Yarkand for the first time
Drawn by Castiglione; engraved by St Aubin, 1773

10. "The Battle of Qos-Qulaq" ("Le Combat de Qos-Qulaq")
The Khoja were defeated here in 1759 by Ming Rui
Drawn by Castiglione; engraved by Prevot, 1774

11. "The Battle of d'Arcul" ("Le Combat d'Arcul")
The Khoja took refuge at Arcul after their defeat at Qos-Kucuk
Drawn by Attiret, 1765; engraved by Aliamet

12. "The Battle of Yesil-Kol-Nor" ("Le Combat de Yesil-Kol-Nor")
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Launay, 1772

13. "The Khan of Badakhsan Asks to Surrender" ("Le Khan de Badakhsan Demande a Se Soumettre")
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Choffard, 1772

14. "The Emperor is Presented with Prisoners from the Pacification of the Muslim Tribes" ("On Offre [A L'Empereur] Les Prisonniers [Faits Lors] De La Pacification Des Tribus Musulmanes")
The prisoners are presented at the palace gate of Wumen. The Emperor is also offered the head of the Khoja Huo Jizhan
Drawn by Attiret; engraved by Masquelier

15. "The Emperor in the Suburbs Personally Receives News of the Officers and Soldiers Distinguished in the Campaign against the Muslim Tribes" ("[L'Empereur Se Rend] Dans La Banlieue Pour Prendre [Personnellement] Des Nouvelles des Officiers et des Soldats qui Se Sont Distingués Dans La Campagne Contre Les Tribus Musulmanes")
The standards of the captured prisoners are planted on the round battlement
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Née, 1772

16. "A Victory Banquet Given by the Emperor for the Distinguished Officers and Soldiers" ("[L'Empereur] Offre Un Banquet de Victoire aux Officiers et Soldats qui Se Sont Distingués")
The banquet was held at Zi Guangge, a building in the western part of the imperial gardens in Beijing, the place where the emperor gave audience to tributary princes. The engraving shows the building viewed from the south, with the marble bridge in the background on the right
Drawn by Castiglione; engraved by Le Bas, 1770 (16)
Further details

Lot Essay

This set of engravings recording the Emperor Qianlong's campaigns (1755-1759) in Central Asia, present-day Xinjiang, was commissioned by the emperor for the palace in Beijing in 1765. The Jesuit missionaries involved in producing the drawings in China were Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), Jean-Denis Attiret (1702-1768), Ignace Sichelbart (1708-1780) and Jean Damascene (d. 1781). The engravings were executed in Paris under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin of the Académie Royal at the Court of Louis XVI and the individual engravers include Le Bas, Aliamet, Prevot, Saint-Aubin, Masquelier, Choffard, and Launay

The first four of the sixteen designs were sent to Europe in 1765 and arrived in France in the autumn of 1766. Castiglione and Attiret died before the Emperor Qianlong received a complete set of the engravings by 1775. The commission had been for 100 copies of the set but in fact 200 were actually printed to ensure the safe receipt of at least 100. A small number were reserved for the French king, his ministers and court officials and precautions were taken to ensure none were left with the engravers or printers. A French version of the imperial edict concerning the commission is in the National Archives in Paris

Complete sets of these engravings are relatively rare: a set is in the Bibliothèque Mazarine; another in the Bibliothèque Nationale; a third in the Musée Guimet; and a set given by Louis XVI to Necker, now in Castle Coppet in Switzerland. An incomplete set of fourteen was sold by Sotheby's, New York, September 19, 1995, lot 339