The Qianlong emperor’s
(1711-1799) lavish tastes and avid patronage of the arts distinguished his court with a decidedly cosmopolitan air. His fascination with the world beyond his palace, the Imperial City, manifested in artworks distinctly influenced by a range of cultures and produced by the scores of artists from China, Europe, India and elsewhere who served the emperor. This interactive site features two exceptional works from the exhibition:
> Macromedia Flash Player 8
> Broadband connection
> Screen resolution of 800 x 600. Ideally viewed at 1024 x 768 or greater.
> Sound for the Automation Clock
Site Credits | © Peabody Essex Museum
Victory Banquet at the West Garden, a 19-foot handscroll in ink, vivid mineral pigments and gold is remarkable for its exquisite technique and extraordinary detail. The painting depicts the grandeur of an 18th-century garden banquet celebrating a pivotal military victory and offers a glimpse of a once-closed part of Chinese society — the Imperial City, home of Chinese emperors for 500 years.
"The scroll provides not only a historical record but a rare opportunity to view the pomp and circumstance of court ceremonies and rituals that occurred inside the walls of the Imperial City," says Nancy Berliner, PEM curator of Chinese Art.Explore the Interactive Scroll
The Kangxi and Qianlong emperors were fascinated by European clocks, which were often presented as tribute gifts by envoys. In 1689, the Kangxi emperor established the zimingzhongchu (Office of Self-Ringing Bells), an imperial atelier staffed with European and Chinese artisans who produced 190 clocks annually.
View the Automation Clock Movie
Launch the Movie link to experience the clock’s delightful performance: the central doors open and close, peacocks flap their wings, flowers twirl and figures appear and disappear, all to the accompaniment of delicately chiming music.