Tapestry: L'Embarquement de l'impératrice, from L'Histoire de l'empereur de la Chine Series

Object Details

Title:

Tapestry: L'Embarquement de l'impératrice, from L'Histoire de l'empereur de la Chine Series

Artist/Maker(s):

After designs by Guy-Louis Vernansal (French, 1648 - 1729)

and Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (French, 1636 - 1699)

and Jean-Baptiste Belin de Fontenay (French, 1653 - 1715)

Woven at the Beauvais Manufactory (French, founded 1664)

under the direction of Philippe Béhagle (French, 1641 - 1705)

Culture:

French

Date:

design about 1690; weave about 1697 - 1705

Medium:

Wool and silk

Dimensions:

367.6 x 310.5 cm (144 3/4 x 122 1/4 in.)

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As imagined by a French designer of luxury goods, who had probably never been to China, the wife of the Chinese emperor Shun Chi embarks on a pleasure boat ride. Three servants attend the empress, one of whom plays a portable keyboard instrument and sings. Other musicians, acrobats, dancing rats, and monkeys entertain her from the landing.

Originally one of a popular, frequently woven set of ten tapestries, this particular subject, "The Empress Sailing," was least common among the series. Only one other surviving example is known.

Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse, commissioned this specific tapestry as part of a set for his country residence outside Paris. Nine tapestries from his set are known to survive, each with borders of the same design, including his monogram LA in the four blue ovals of the border. The Getty Museum owns seven tapestries from this set.

Exhibitions
Louis XIV at the Getty (June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 9, 2015 to July 31, 2016