of rectangular shape, each panel elaborately decorated with nine golden five-clawed dragons in pursuit of flaming pearls against an apricot ground amongst multi-coloured ruyi-shaped clouds, below a border of three further dragons woven in similar fashion on a deep-blue ground, all above foaming waves crashing against a mountain
Large tapestries and hangings of this type were used to decorate throne rooms of palaces throughout the Forbidden City. These panels display the opulence of Qing palace interiors through their sumptuous dragon design which is expertly captured in vibrant threads to heighten their grandeur and echoes contemporary imperial robes. Symbolic of the emperor, this motif was particularly popular at the Qing court as it is believed that the legendary Huang Di emperor, immortalised into a dragon and ascended into heaven. Furthermore, the number nine represents celestial power and thus the number of the emperor.
Such large silk panels are unusual although two similar examples, but decorated on a yellow ground, in the Mactaggart Art Collection, University of Alberta Museums, Edmonton, were sold in our New York rooms, the first, 7th May 1981, lot 158, and the second, 25th February 1983, lot 126. Compare also a smaller example sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27th November 2007, lot 1825; and a horizontal panel embroidered with a similar motif sold in our London rooms, 12th May 2010, lot 143.