Pictures of Ancient Playthings thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery

Pictures of Ancient Playthings

Painting
1729 (Painted)
Place of origin

This long handscroll was made for the Yongzheng emperor (reigned 1723–35) as a kind of pictorial inventory of his palace collections. It depicts some 250 ceramics, jade and hardstone carvings, bronzes, root wood and other kinds of curios. In the painting the court artist, or artists, incorporated European techniques of perspective and shading.

Object details

Object type
Titles
  • Pictures of Ancient Playthings (generic title)
  • 清 佚名 古玩圖 (published title)
Materials and techniques
Ink and colour on paper. The discs on the roller ends is ivory dyed green.
Brief description
Gu Wan Tu 古玩圖 (Pictures of Ancient Playthings), handscroll, ink and colours on paper, China, Qing, 1729
Physical description
This handscroll depicts ceramics, jades, bronze vessels and curios in other media owned by the Qing Yongzheng Emperor (r.1723-35). The objects are painted in ink and colours on paper in a realistic style, suspended against an unpainted backdrop. The roller ends are made of ivory that has been dyed green. The scroll's title slip is written in clear regular script.
Dimensions
  • Height: 64cm
  • Length: 2648cm
Object history
Purchased from Capt. J.S. Rivett-Carnac, accessioned in 1911. This acquisition information reflects that found in the Asia Department registers, as part of a 2022 provenance research project.
Purchased from Capt. J.S. Rivett-Carnac, 1911
Subjects depicted
Summary
This long handscroll was made for the Yongzheng emperor (reigned 1723–35) as a kind of pictorial inventory of his palace collections. It depicts some 250 ceramics, jade and hardstone carvings, bronzes, root wood and other kinds of curios. In the painting the court artist, or artists, incorporated European techniques of perspective and shading.
Bibliographic references
  • Rawski, Evelyn S. & Rawson, J. (Eds) China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2005
  • Ming Wilson, 'Emperor Yongzheng's Repository of Jades' in Arts of Asia, vol. 50, issue 3, May-Jun 2020, pp. 32-39.
  • Shane McCausland, ‘The Emperor’s Old Toys: Rethinking the Yongzheng (1723-35) Scroll of Antiquities in the Percival David Foundation’. Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, no. 66 (2001-2), pp 65-75
  • 余佩瑾,"品鑑之趣--十八世紀的陶瓷圖冊及其相關問題", 故宮學術季刊,第二十二卷第二期 (民國九十三年冬季)
Collection
Accession number
E.59-1911

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Record createdDecember 20, 2005
Record URL
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