An important documentary twelve panel coromandel lacquer screen dated to the 9th year of the reign of the Emperor Kangxi (Geng Xu) 1687 and of period, 285cm (112") high/Finely carved with scenes probably taken from the novel 'A bed-full of tablets' (Manchuanghu) depicting Guo Ziyi seated in the main reception hall of a palace surrounded by attendants and visiting dignitaries within a walled garden containing pavilions with musicians, a bridge from the palace leading to other pavilions, outside the walls are horses and grooms./The scene is bordered by auspicious objects./The reverse with a full inscription (see below) within fan, round and cartouche-shaped panels of birds, landscape etc./The inscription can be read as 'Congratulations on the birthday of Shang Jihou' who held the rank of 'zhen tai' commander, the closest equivalent being Lieutenant General
The Content: "People have said from ancient times until now, that to be a wise person who has responsibility, experience, support and to be blessed, one must live a long life./In this world, if someone is successful and achieves longevity, that is not just the result of nature: one must do good deeds, contribute to society, and possess a good moral character./Hence in this country people respect the old, because we hope that their great spirit can help the younger generation - we will remember them all of the time./Shang Jihou is such a person./Now that this country is prosperous and peaceful, the average person can have a good life. If a person makes a contribution to the society of the country then they deserve a better life. This is also the reason why this country is so prosperous"
Signed with: The seal of Zhang Xiong (two characters together)/The name of Zhang Xiong/The next section is a list of seventy seven names and a greeting, as follows 'together we send our congratulations'/The author/Zhang Xiong (also known as Zi Shoufu), a native of Nanjing in Fujian province/In year nine of the reign of Kangxi (Geng Xu year, 1670) Zhang Xiong attained a Jinshi degree, becoming a 'presented scholar' - a graduate of the palace examinations./He was given the post of 'Nei ge zhong shu' which entailed recording written materials and translations for the state./In the seventeenth year of the reign of Kangxi he became a strategic advisor to Yao Qisheng (Governor of Taiwan), and from here he was promoted to the post of Minister of Water Resources.
Provenance: From the Collection of Robert and Evelyn Benson. Robert Henry Benson (1850-1929) of London and Buckhurst Park Sussex, married Evelyn Holford of Westonbirt. Benson was a merchant banker with Robert Benson & Co. He served as a Trustee of The National Portrait Gallery and was on the Council of The Royal College of Music. He edited various catalogues, most notably that of the Holford Collection. He and his wife established their own highly important collection of early Italian Renaissance paintings including works by Botticelli, Correggio, Ghirlandaio, Titian and Veronese. One of the treasures from their collection was Correggio's Christ's Farewell to his Mother (now in the National Gallery). Benson also collected English works by artists including Gainsborough, John Sell Cotman and George Frederick Watts. The Benson Collection was one of the finest collections amassed during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Bibiliography: Who Was Who, London 1967/Writings by Robert Benson: Catalogue of Italian Pictures at 16 South Street, Park Lane, London and Buckhurst in Sussex, Collected by Robert and Evelyn Benson, London 1914; The Holford Collection, London 1924; The Holford Collection, Dorchester House, 2 volumes, London 1927
Literature: see Christie's 28th November 2012 for a similar dated documentary screen/W de Kesel and G Doint Coromandel Screen, Chicago 2002 for a similar screens
Sold for £32,000
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