Tapestry: Les Astronomes, from L'Histoire de l'empereur de la Chine Series

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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum South Pavilion, Gallery S102

Object Details

Title:

Tapestry: Les Astronomes, from L'Histoire de l'empereur de la Chine Series

Artist/Maker(s):

Beauvais Manufactory (French, founded 1664)

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

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

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

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

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Beauvais, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1697 - 1705

Medium:

Wool and silk; modern cotton lining

Dimensions:

318.8 x 424.2 cm (125 1/2 x 167 in.)

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In a tapestry from the set known as The Story of the Emperor of China series, European and Chinese figures assemble on a stone terrace around an elaborately mounted globe. In the center of the group stands the Chinese emperor, wearing the imperial insignia of the winged dragon and gesturing with one hand while the other rests possessively on the globe. The bearded man taking a measurement on the globe with a pair of compasses is the German Jesuit priest, Father Schall von Bell, who attained a high rank in the Qing court through his knowledge of Western astronomy. He headed the Imperial Astronomical Bureau and developed a close personal relationship with the emperor, based on a shared interest in mathematics and astronomy.

The large globe, telescope, and the ecliptic armillary sphere on the dragon-shaped base represent actual objects made by the Chinese after European designs. The originals survive today in the observatory in Beijing.

Exhibitions
Imagining the Orient (October 5, 2004 to April 3, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 5, 2004 to April 3, 2005
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
Related Media
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    Audio: The Astronomers / Emperor of China Tapestry
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    Audio: The Astronomers / Emperor of China Tapestry / Bremer-David