TWO COLORED COPPER-PLATE ENGRAVINGS OF THE CONQUESTS OF THE QIANLONG EMPEROR DATED 1769
10,000 - 15,000 USD
bidding is closed
- Height 20 in., 50.8 cm; Width 35 in., 89 cm
the first, the Receiving of the Surrender of the Ili, from a drawing by Jonatius Sichelbarth, engraved by Benoit-Louis Prevost under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin II, the lower edge inscribed P. Jonatius Sichelbarth Soc. JESU delin. 1765, C.N. Cochin direx., and B.L. Prevost Sculpsit 1769; the second, the Storming of the Camp at Mount Gadan, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione, engraved by Jacques-Philippe Le Bas under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin II, the lower edge inscribed Joseph Castilhoni Soc. JESU delin 1765, C.N. Cochin direx., and J. Ph. Le Bas Scul 1769; each tinted, framed, and glazed (2)
Copper-plate engravings were first made in China during the Kangxi period by the missionary Matteo Ripa. However, it was after seeing prints done after the battle paintings by the German artist Rugendas (1666-1742) that the Qianlong emperor was inspired to commemorate his own victories in battle against China's Central Asian neighbors in a series of prints. He commissioned the original set of sixteen engravings of his conquests on 13th July 1765 for the central hall of the Palace of Beijing. Reduced versions of full battle paintings were prepared in China by Jesuit missionaries including Castiglione and Sichelbarth, and then sent to France, where the engravings were executed in Paris by eight artists under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin II of the Académie Royale at the Court of Louis XVI. The Qianlong emperor's commission of sixteen copper plates, two hundred copies of each for a total of three thousand, two hundred engravings, and the return of the sixteen original sketches, were delivered by the East India Company to the Qing imperial court on 20th September 1777.