CHINA, KANGXI PERIOD (1661-1722) DATED DATE 1687 (YEAR OF DINGMAO)
Superb ten-leaf folding screen in Coromandel lacquer, finely decorated on one side of the arrival of a delegation on the outskirts of a palace, inside which is a mandarin contemplating dancers and musicians. Nearby is a small lake full of lotus flowers surrounded by young ladies of the court. The scene relates the reception given by General Guo Ziyi, famous for having saved the Tang dynasty.
The surrounding area is animated by dragons among flowers and foliage.
The other side is finely chiselled with xingshu calligraphy motifs, enhanced with gold, illustrating a poem written by the scholar Gong Zhang (1637-1695). On the left are also the names of the donors.
This screen is a commission piece made in honour of General Meng Wengjin.
Size of leaf 208 x 50 cm
Provenance: Marquis of Trazegnies.
Private collection, Brussels.
Coromandel is located on the southern part of the coast between the Godava River and Nagapatnam in India. In the 17th century, the trade and import of furniture from China to Europe was carried out by sea. The goods passed through Coromandel, making it a vital point for trade. Many believe that the objects arriving from Coromandel were made locally. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in India in 1496, then in China around 1514. Coromandel's folding screens were very popular at the time, so much so that one can find illustrations decorating Flemish interiors depicted on 17th and 18th century paintings.
These large Coromandel lacquer screens were the subject of gifts to high-ranking Chinese dignitaries and military officers during the time of Emperor Kangxi. Several examples are illustrated in Michel Beurdeley's book "Le mobilier chinois".
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