Silk and wool: tapestry weave
Overall: 257.8 x 377.8 cm (101 1/2 x 148 3/4 in.)
Bequest of John L. Severance 1942.825
This European-style tapestry depicts a family gathering, in a woven Western picture frame, that presumably once furnished the Hall of Cultivating the Mind (Yangxin dian) in the Forbidden City. The tapestry employs Western perspective and shading combined with the traditional Chinese subject of a family gathering in a palace, including motifs expressing wishes for good fortune and for a peaceful reign.
In 1766, six French tapestries had been presented to the Chinese court. The Qianlong emperor was so intrigued that he commissioned tapestries in the French style from Suzhou. Records mention an imperial order for tapestries in the Western style, such as this one, in 1769, 1770, and 1775.
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