Anonymous Circa 1890
Lot 207W
Anonymous Circa 1890
Sold for £14,400 (US$ 23,262) inc. premium

Lot Details
Various Owners
Anonymous
Circa 1890
Gouache on silk, the large elaborate painting depicting a panoramic view of the Yiheyuan, depicting the Wenchang Ge tower, the Kuoruting pavilion (Pavilion of the Expanding Ruyi), and a steamer with a red flag reading xiangyun ('soaring cloud'), framed and glazed.
82.9cm x 160.9cm (32½in x 63¼in)

Footnotes

  • This superb panoramic view depicts the Yihe Yuan ('Summer Palace') as seen from the eastern shore. Much of the Palace complex was sacked and destroyed during the Anglo-French Allied invasion in 1860. In 1886 the Empress Dowager Cixi promised 30 million taels of silver, originally designated to the Chinese navy, to the reconstruction and enlargement of the Summer Palace.

    The present painting can be relatively accurately dated based on the presence of certain architectural features depicted. The Wenchang Ge tower, as seen in the lower right hand corner, was burned down in 1860 and was not rebuilt until 1892. Also, in 1889 it is recorded that the Empress Dowager purchased two small steamers for her enjoyment on Kunming lake; one of which is visible in the foreground. The foreground also shows the Kuoruting (Pavilion of the Expanding Ruyi) by the foot of the large marble bridge leading to an artificial island.

    A similar view of the Yihe Yuan, showing the Palace complex prior to its destruction in 1860, is in the collection of the Library of Congress (G7824.B4: 2Y4A35.I2).
Auction information

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  1. Asaph Hyman
    Specialist - Chinese Works of Art
    Bonhams
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