Kang or furniture cover

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    18th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    Polychrome cut-velvet with silk backing
  • Dimension

    H x W: 425 x 195 cm (167 5/16 x 76 3/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    This textile consists of three sewn together sections of cut-velvet fabric with polychrome layered-weft pattern; the entire piece of fabric is lined with yellow silk, which is not necessarily original to the piece. A large, full-faced lotus blossom with a golden seed pod at the middle appears in the center of the design. The rest of the surface is covered with a scrolling leaf design punctuated by profile lotus flower-heads that have golden-edged seed pods at their centers. Ten large bats flit among the flower design. Two rectangular bands edge the design; the inner border consists of geometric kui-dragon patterns composed of units of two facing dragons. The outside border consists of swastika lattice made up of paired swastikas in mirror image. The borders add an archaistic flavor to the design.
    The velvet is crimson/burgundy in color and the polychrome layered-weft pattern consists of the following colors: white, pink, mint-green, teal blue, and gold. It also appears that silver thread was used on some of the bats, but the thread is now dulled. The predominant design of lotus flowers and scrolling leaves is executed in white, pink, and gold for the flowers and green and blue for the leaves. The colors are used with studied repetition to create a harmonious unity; for example, touches of pink and white also appear as flourishes on the leafy vine. The kui-dragon pattern, which is predominately green and blue, also includes accents of white and pink threads. The velvet background pile has been trimmed with exceptional care and skill, and details as fine as the eyes and facial features of the bats are formed by lines of raised velvet nap.
  • Provenance

    To 1970
    Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, New York. [1]
    Estate of Agnes E. Meyer. [2]
    To 1995
    Mrs. Katherine Graham (1917-2001), Washington, DC, acquired from her mother’s (Agnes E. Meyer) estate. [3]
    From 1995
    Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Mrs. Katherine Graham, Washington DC [4]
    [1] Acquired by donor from her mother's (Agnes Meyer) estate. Donor believes that this cut-velvet panel covered the grand piano in her mother's drawing room. See page 115 of the "Drawing Room" estate inventory in the object file in the Registrar's office.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] See note 1.
    [4] See object record.
  • Collection

    Freer Study Collection
  • Exhibition History

    The Arts of China (November 18, 1990 to September 7, 2014)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Eugene I. Meyer Jr. (1875-1959)
    Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970)
    Katharine Meyer Graham (1917-2001)
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Gift of Mrs. Katharine Graham
  • Type

    Costume and Textile
  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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