Set of panels
- Place of origin:
- Materials and Techniques:
Silk tapestry (kesi)
- Museum number:
T.269 to G-1971
- Gallery location:
This set of panels, woven in the Kesi tapestry technique, depict Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy in Chinese beliefs) helping humans overcome wordly difficulties. Each panel depicts a different episode. Although none of these are easily associated with any known Chinese story, the theme running through the 8 panels are consistent in their theme of Guanyin watching over those who suffer.
Set of eight panels of silk tapestry (kesi), possibly hangings or from a screen. Woven with scenes from the Jâtaka stories. Each is surmounted by a standing image of the popular deity, Guanyin, helping humans overcome wordy difficulties. Four panels are bordered by an integrally woven key-fret pattern and four by an animal scroll.
[Panel] Panel decorated with a tiger in a landscape setting, threatening a walking man. In one hand the man holds a rosary, in the other an umbrella which rests on his right shoulder. The panel is bordered with a scroll border.
[Panel] Panel depicting a grassy slope, at the foot of which stands a figure in blue robes holding a lotus. Above is a turbulent sky with jewels and a demon figure with the wings of a bat and a scaly dragon-like body holding a hammer and chisel. The panel is bordered with a scroll border.
[Panel] Panel showing a civil mandarin with his badge of rank on the front of his robe (a crane). He sites at a table, behind him is a screen with landscape designs. In front of the table are two kneeling figures, one with a black beard wears a sea green robe and hat, the other has a plain light coloured robe. The panel is bordered with a scroll border.
[Panel] The panel showing two figures emerging from a blazing building, possibly a temple. The leading figure holds a small image of a seated Buddha. The panel is bordered with a scroll border.
[Panel] Panel showing a figure in a pointed blue cap, standing on a rocky overhang. He has a sword by his belt, looking down at a female figure diving headlong, past the branches of a peach tree, towards a hand emerging from the clouds. The panel is bordered with a key-fret border.
[Panel] Panel showing a seated man and a woman conversing secretly; the woman is holding a bowl to the man's lips. Behind them a second man is hiding behind a screen with landscape designs, peering at them. The panel is bordered with a key-fret border.
[Panel] Panel showing three figures in a boat in a rough sea. Towards the top a demon emerges from the waves. The panel is bordered with a key-fret border.
[Panel] Panel showing a military figure in blue robes standing beneath a peach tree brandishing a fragmented sword, and threatening a kneeling figure. The panel is bordered with a key-fret border.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Silk tapestry (kesi)
Length: 102 cm each, Width: 22 cm each, Length: 40 in each, Width: 8.5 in each
Object history note
These 8 panels originally formed a screen, which Alexandra Comnène-Everts originally had framed in dark wood in 1915. When Robert Everts left China he took this screen to all his other postings. Lady Logan has interior photographs showing the screen in situ and there is a photograph of these panels in the screen in the V&A nominal file.
Donated by Lady Logan from the collection of her parents, Robert and Alexandra Everts. Robert Everts (b. Brussels 12 Sept. 1875; d. Brussels 30 April 1942) was born in Brussels the son of the Dutch Consul who adopted Belgian nationality c.1898 and entered the Belgian Diplomatic Service, serving in Paris (1900-09), Mexico (1901-02) and Bucharest (1902-06). He married Alexandra (b. Corfu 4 Feb. 1880; d. Brussels 1961) whose mother was Angelia née Calvocoressi and who chose the family name Comnÿne, in Brussels in 1913. Alexandra accompanied her husband in his foreign postings to Peking between 1910-16 and again in 1920-24, Berlin 1924-31 and Madrid 1932-29 after which the couple resided in Brussels. Together they formed collections of Mexican armour, Mexican textiles, Puebla ceramics, Spanish colonial glass; Chinese textiles, Chinese and Japanese lacquer, Chinese furniture, ceramics and metalwork; and they preserved inherited period lace.
Parts of these collections have been acquired by museums internationally:
The British Museum: Mexican textiles and beadwork (1994 AM3.1, AM7.1-20; 1996 AM10 1-18; 1997 AM4.1)
Mexico City, Franz Mayer Museum: Mexican rebosos and textiles (1994 AD-004, AD-020;DRA-0009, DRA-0025; AD-021, AD-030; DCH-0001, DCH-0010; AD-031, AD-038; DFB-007, DFB-0014); Ecclesiastical embroidered panels, XVI century (2002 09157-01966; DCN-0013, FCF-0011-15; FPA-0013-16)
Alexandra Comnène-Everts was herself a proficient artist and designer. Albums of her drawings of ornament on Chinese monuments (c. 1919-25) have been acquired by the British Library (1998 N Or.15493/1-6) and the bridal tiara she commissioned from Cartier in Paris is on loan to the Victoria & Albert Museum.
The acquisitions from this collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum are:
Asian, set of 8 kessus (silk tapestry), late Ming period (T.269-G-1971); feather fan, carved jewelled handle, Chinese, c. 1910 (FE.58-2008)
Fashion, 20th century dress (T.12-203 – T.17-2003); Textiles, Belgian and Flemish lace (T.5-2003; T.6-T.10-2003; T.62-2008; T.63-2008; T.64-2008; T.65-2008)
Ref: Claire Brisby, ‘Angelia Calvocoressi 1840-1929: A Cosmopolitan Life’, Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, 30.2 (2004), 97-130.
Related names Angelia Calvocoressi
NB The phrasing of this object history note is as provided by Claire Brisby, Lady Logan's daughter. It is given so that all objects donated by Lady Logan (including those in FTF and Metalwork) will have the same consistent record, as requested by donor. Please do not amend it.
This set of screen panels in the kesi technique was believed by the previous owner and by George Wingfield Digby to be from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Lady Logan's mother had them framed in a dark wood carved frame when they were acquired sometime between 1913-1924 (see biography in Object History Field), which Wingfield Digby rejected-he preferred to have them for the museum without the frame. There are several similar stories of frames being especially made for such panels for the foreign community in China at the turn of the century. Lady Logan's father was the Belgian Ambassador and when he left China he took this framed screen to all his other postings-Lady Logan has interior photographs showing the screen in situ and there is a photograph of these panels in the screen in the V&A nominal file. The 'stories' on these types of woven panels do not conform to any known stories of Guanyin, and the textile may have been made with foreign clients in mind.
(NB: Phrasing of this attributions note is approved by Claire Brisby, Lady Logan's daughter. Please do not change it without approval of donor's family.)
Set of eight panels of silk tapestry (kesi), China, 1700-1900
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Wilson, Verity. Chinese Textiles. London: V&A Publications, 2005, plate 49.
Textiles; Wall coverings