清乾隆 緙絲《御筆創業守成難易說》包首 Scroll Cover for Imperial Calligraphy
Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period (1736–95)
Silk and metallic thread tapestry (kesi)
Overall: 15 x 13 1/2 in. (38.1 x 34.3 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1941
Not on view
This wonderful textile illustrates the continuation of the use of luxurious tapestries as covers for paintings and calligraphies. The inscription states that it was produced to accompany the Qianlong Emperor’s calligraphy of his own essay discussing the difficulty and ease of founding and maintaining an empire. As a tailor-made cover for an imperial work, the tapestry is superb: the body of the dragon is executed in gold thread, and the flowers and leaves are rendered in subtle hues and shades.
Inscription: Yü bi chuang ye shou cheng nan i shuo: "The Imperial Brush's Dissertation on the Relative Difficulty and Ease of Founding a Dynasty and Maintaining it Successfully."