Chair strip with auspicious patterns (one of a pair), Qing dynasty (1644–1911), 18th century
Tapestry–woven (kesi) silk and metallic thread; Overall 64 x 19 in. (162.6 x 48.3 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1965 (65.210.1)
Unlike upholstered furniture in the West, chairs in China historically were covered only temporarily with textiles. These chair strips were designed and woven specifically for the purpose. As is typical of such chair covers, the length is divided into multiple segments, each bearing a different design for the part of the chair it covers—the front legs, seat, or back—as well as a short segment that hangs behind the chair.
This auspiciously patterned chair strip, one of a pair, was appropriate for special occasions such as birthday celebrations. Peaches (symbols of immortality) and the character for longevity (shou) decorate the segment behind the chair, and the front legs are covered with a pattern of pavilions in the sea, which probably refers to the isles of the immortals. The decoration of both segments of chair covers also includes patterns of bats (fu), which form a pun with the word for blessings.