The Dispatch and Victory of the Suppression of Jinchuan, Sichuan

Two handscrolls, ink and color on silk

a. "Sacrificing Flags and Dispatching Troops to Battle"
20½ x 191½in. (52 x 486.4cm.)
Signed: "Yao Wenhan and Zhou Kun respectfully painted together"
Two seals of the artist: Chen Yao Wen Han, Jing Shen

b. "Imperial Farewell Ceremony in Chang'an"
20½ x 208in. (52 x 528.3cm.)
Signed: "Zhang Weibang and Zhou Kun respectfully painted together"
Two seals of the artist: Zhang Wei Bang, Gong Hui

Each scroll inscribed by Ji Huang (1711-1794) with a poem composed by Emperor Qianlong (reigned 1736-1795)

Each scroll with a jade catch engraved with the title of the scroll and "Qianlong Nianzhi" ("made in the Qianlong era")

Accompanied by original carved cinnabar lacquer box engraved with the title of the series (2)
Wang Jie, et al. (compiler), Shiqu Baoji Xubian (Catalogue of the Paintings and Calligraphy in the Imperial Collection, sequel, part II), completed 1793, facsimile reprint by the National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1971, pp. 1869-70

Lot Essay

According to the Shiqu Baoji Xubian, which is part of the catalogue of the Qianlong imperial paintings collection, the original series consisted of four handscrolls and were painted in the thirteenth year of the Qianlong era (1748). Carefully detailed visual recordings of famous battles and imperial ceremonies were frequently commissioned by the Qianlong court. These paintings were either painted by Western artist-priests, who served at the court, or by Chinese painters, who made use of the realism and techniques of perspective and modeling imported by the Western artists.

Yao Wenhan, Zhang Weibang and Zhou Kun were all court painters during the reign of the Qianlong emperor, who employed more artists than any other Qing dynasty ruler. Zhang Weibang's dated paintings range from 1745 to 1761, and he was most adept at figures, birds, animals and landscapes. Yao Wenhan, who was a native of Shuntian near the Qing capital, painted between at least 1739 and 1752. He excelled at highly realistically depicted figures, especially religious images, and landscapes. Zhou Kun was the son of an artist living in Changshun, Jiangsu and initially studied painting at home. His landscape style was strongly influenced by Huang Gongwang (1269-1354), and he was especially skilful in painting figures and plum blossoms, in addition to landscapes. His dated works, many of which were included in the collection of Emperor Qianlong, range from 1741-1748, and he is recorded as having been a member of the Qianlong painting academy, the Ruyi Guan, which was established in 1736.