Table Valance with Theme of the "Hundred Antiques"
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Embroidered silk gauze
32 x 98 in. (81.3 x 248.9 cm)
Bequest of William Christian Paul, 1929
Not on view
A rich array of vessels and objects in many media—such as bronze, ceramic, and carved rhinoceros horn—are depicted on this valance, which was likely meant for the front of a large table.
The bronzes, especially the tall ceremonial wine vessel (gu), seen at the center of the middle group of objects on the lower panel, and the square four-legged ceremonial food vessel (fang ding) at the left, feature a naïve rendition of the mask decoration on archaic bronzes (which can be seen in the Galleries for the Arts of Ancient China downstairs).
Ceramics are scattered throughout the valance: one at the lower left features a crackled glaze, a highly desirable effect among late Ming connoisseurs. The craft of carved rhinoceros horn is represented by the flaring cup seen at the lower right.
William Christian Paul , the Bronx, NY (until d. 1929)