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Brandt Asian Art Gallery

A Large Imperial Throne Pillow Covering
China
Qianlong period (1736-1795)
43in x43in [109.2cm x 109.2cm]

Woven in Lampas weave on a yellow ground, in coloured silks with five Lung sinuous dragons, with central facing dragon and four in profile, writhing among clouds, and chasing flaming pearls over a wave base including Buddhist symbols. Above a sub-pattern of scrolling lotus-sprays.

Note: Given to Charles Gordon, and thus by decent. Charles Gordon, arrived in China in the summer of 1860 as a Captain in the British Army. In 1859, in retaliation for the arrest, imprisonment and torture to death of a four British diplomats, who had been sent to Beijing to collect an Imperial War indemnity.

As a result, the joint British-French Alliance declared war, against China, which gave the newly arrived Gordon an immediate role in one of the most controversial political acts of the 19th Century: the reprisal looting and sacking of the Emperor’s Summer Palace. On 24th March 1863, Gordon was appointed mandarin and lieutenant colonel in the Chinese army and was charged to clear the rebels from the district of Kiangxu. When the rebels finally surrendered, he was awarded by the Emperor, the yellow jacket and peacock’s feather of a mandarin of the first class, and the highest military title Ti-tu. Gordon left China in 1864 as the Commander-in-Chief of the Emperor’s Ever Victorious Army with the rank of Field Marshal, but still as a British Lieutenant-Colonel.)

all text & images Brandt Asian Art Gallery

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