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This large panel of couched embroidery in multi-coloured silk thread, which has been tacked onto a green cotton backing sheet, was collected by a colonial administrator whilst serving in the Malay Peninsular in the early 20th century.
The embroidery shows Shou-hsing, the Daoist deity associated with longevity; the Queen Mother of the West (Hsi Wang-mu); Lu-hsing, the god of official title; Fu-shen, the god of happiness; and an infant.
The banner would have been hung in a local Chinese house, perhaps belonging to a Straits Chinese family, although most probably the embroidery was imported to the Straits Settlements from China.
It is in fine condition. There are loose threads here and there but the colours are bright and there is no insect damage. The item has been in storage for many decades, hence it’s relatively fine condition.
A similar panel, attributed to circa 1915 is in Spain’s Museo Oriental, and is illustrated in Sierra de la Calle (2004, p. 200). Other similar panels attributed to the 19th century are illustrated in Jacobsen, (2000).
Double click on each image below (and then again) to see the detail.
Jacobsen, R.D, Imperial Silks: Ch’ng Dynasty Textiles in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Volume 2, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2000.
Knapp, R.G, The Peranakan Chinese Home: Art and Culture in Daily Life, Tuttle, 2012.
Sierra de la Calle, B., Museo Oriental: China, Japon, Filipinas – Obras Selectas, Museo Oriental, 2004.