Overall (top panel): 52 3/8 x 122 5/16 in. (133 x 310.7 cm)
Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1954
Not on view
Several lively children, probably representing grandsons, are among the guests honoring the elderly couple in this celebratory scene. The man and his wife wear matching robes, appropriate dress for court officials and their wives. The man's garment is clearly meant to represent a court robe, decorated with the requisite dragon, clouds, and waves. The gifts include peaches and a peach tree, which are associated with longevity, and a hanging scroll bearing the character for longevity (shou) surrounded by bats (fu). Bats typically stand for "good fortune," as the two terms are homophones in Chinese.
Nineteenth-century Chinese works in tapestry frequently consist of large woven areas of a single color with painted details, as seen here. For example, save for the couple's matching robes, all the garments in the scene have painted patterns.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Celebration: The Birthday in Chinese Art," February 27, 2010–November 28, 2010.