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Chinese Ming Dynasty Shoulao and Deer Embroidered Panel


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A large embroidered panel from the late Ming, early Qing dynasty.

  • Embroidered in shades of gold, blue, pale green and orange, accentuated with couched gold threads.
  • The immortal stands with twinkling eyes and a pleasant smile, the face padded to emphasize the cranial bump, cheeks and nose, his hands and long fingernails cradling a large ripe peach with a gnarled staff suspending a scroll tucked between his arm and chest.
  • Dressed in a voluminous robe decorated with emblems of longevity including cranes and shou characters, a double-gourd and lingzhi dangling from the robe.
  • A spotted deer carrying further peaches on its back, looking up at the figure.
  • The use of padding to model Shoulao's face in relief is a relatively rare technique among panels of this type. Highlighting his pronounced forehead, cranial bump, smiling cheeks and rounded nose, the modeling adds to the figure's charm and character, drawing attention against the rest of the flattened ground. 
  • Offered framed.

Condition Report

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Very Good
Like New

The embroidery has been remounted on a cream-colored silk ground, as illustrated in the catalogue.

The left foreleg of the deer now lost.

Overall with minor scattered areas of losses, fraying, staining and light discoloration.

Please note the piece has not been examined out of its frame.


Height: 55 inches / 139.7 cm
Width: 29.75 inches / 75.56 cm

Textile Type

Decorative Style










Acquired in China circa early 20th century, and thence by descent.


For silk hangings with Shoulao depicted with a similar expression and beard, compare a Ming dynasty example with the immortal atop a crane, included in Special Exhibition of Embroidery, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1992, cat. no. 11, and a late 17th-early 18th-century silk hanging of the Three Star Gods in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 1977.263. See also an embroidered hanging scroll of Shoulao with a deer, attributed to the 17th/18th century, sold at Christie's New York, 15th-16th January 2008, lot 773, and another panel attributed to the Qing dynasty, sold in these rooms, 19th September 2002, lot 203. 

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