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Illustrated manuscript - The back of a summer court robe worn by the Emperor
  • The back of a summer court robe worn by the Emperor
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The back of a summer court robe worn by the Emperor

  • Object:

    Illustrated manuscript

  • Place of origin:

    Beijing (made)

  • Date:

    1736-1795 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ink and colour on silk

  • Museum number:

    823-1896

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

"The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Present Dynasty" is an illustrated manuscript commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor (r.1736-1795). The main body of the commission began in 1750 and was completed in 1759. It was a conclusion of the Emperor's decade long efforts to regulate the ritual codes and procedures as a means of ruling since his enthronement, and serves as a record of the Emperor's passion for a rigid ritualised life.

As one of the major imperial commissions the book is of monumental scale and collaborative in nature. As many as twenty-seven court painters and calligraphers were working on the commission under five editors-in-chief, Yilu (1695-1767), Jiang Pu (1708-1761), Wang Youdun (1692-1758), Guanbao (?-1776) and He Guozong (?-1766). After editing and further expansion in the ensuing years, the manuscript was printed by the Palace Publications Office in the Wuying Palace in 1766, and it was finally included as part of the Four Treasures imperial library project in 1773. For that purpose seven copies were produced and stored in libraries across the empire. The book consists of six parts - ceremonial vessels, scientific equipments, dress, musical instruments, insignia, and weaponry, containing more than 1300 leaves of illustrations and explanatory texts.

The museum's collection of the manuscript is incomplete. All its leaves, together with those in the British Library, in the National Museums of Scotland and in the National Museum of Ireland, may have been part of the version kept in the Wenyuan Pavilion library in the Yuanming yuan Summer Palace, Beijing.

The page shows a colour illustration of the back of a summer court robe worn by the Emperor

Physical description

A page of "The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Present Dynasty", an illustrated manuscript commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor (r.1736-1795). The book consists of six parts - ceremonial vessels, scientific equipments, dress, musical instruments, insignia, and weaponry, containing more than 1300 leaves of illustrations and explanatory texts. The page shows a colour illustration of the back of a summer court robe worn by the Emperor.

Place of Origin

Beijing (made)

Date

1736-1795 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Ink and colour on silk

Dimensions

Height: 42.3 cm, Width: 41.3 cm

Object history note

The main body of the commission began in 1750 and it was completed in 1759. As many as twenty-seven court painters and calligraphers were working on the commission under five editors-in-chief, Yilu (1695-1767), Jiang Pu (1708-1761), Wang Youdun (1692-1758), Guanbao (?-1776) and He Guozong (?-1766). After editing and further expansion in the ensuing years, the manuscript was printed by the Palace Publications Office in the Wuying Palace in 1766, and it was finally included as part of the Four Treasures imperial library project in 1773. For that purpose seven versions in total were produced and stored in libraries across the empire.
The museum's collection of the manuscript is incomplete. All its leaves, together with those in the British Library, in the National Museums of Scotland and in the National Museum of Ireland, may have been part of the version kept in the Wenyuan Pavilion library in the Yuanming yuan Summer Palace, Beijing.
The current page belongs to the first of four groups of leaves from the manuscruipt acquired by the museum. The museum purchased this group from a certain Walter H. Harris, the son of a builder, a director of Schweppes, in 1895.

Descriptive line

Page of the illustrated manuscript "The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Present Dynasty." It shows an illustration of the Emperor's summer court robe.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Medley, Margret. "'The Illustrated Regulations for Ceremonial Paraphernalia of the Ch'ing Dynasty' in the Victoria and Albert Museum." in Transactionsof the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol.31, 1957/59, pp.95-105.
Liu, Lu. "An Illustrated Manual for Regulating the Qing Society: A Discussion of Several Issues Relating to 'Huangchao liqi tushi'." in Palace Museum Journal (Beijing), no.4. 2004, pp.130-44.

Production Note

Reason For Production: Commission

Collection

East Asia Collection

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