Previously sold in our New York Rooms, 2 December 1989, lot 413.
According to the inscription, the present screen was presented by a group of four Jinshi (an equivalent to a doctorate graduate under the complex Qing dynasty examination system), from the Fujian province. The names of these officials are recorded in Mingqing Jinshi Timing Beilu Suoyin, Shanghai gujichubanshe, as: Zhang Juchuan who became Jinshi in the ninth year of Shunzi (1653), p. 1123; Wang Shengsi in the fifteenth year of Shunzi (1659), p. 1010; Kang Menghou in the eighteenth year of Shunzi (1662), p. 23; and Zhang Xiong in the ninth year of Kangxi (1671). As such, the present screen most probably dates between 1672 to 1700.
The present example belongs to a group of early Qing dynasty screens that were specifically commissioned and presented to high officials to commemorate special birthday celebrations, usually an eightieth birthday. These screens are often overtly decorated with themes of longevity as indicated by the Shou characters; and portray visual imageries of opulence associated with scholar-officials of the higher echelons of society.
Compare the intricate coromandel lacquer workmanship with a ten-panel screen designed with long tailed phoenixes rendered ambling in a rockwork garden landscape, dated to the Kangxi period, sold in these Rooms, 3 November 1998, lot 1113. Also, a related coromandel and huanghuali twelve-panel screen of officials in scholarly pursuits, sold in these Rooms, 30 October 2001, lot 738.