N.p.n.d. [China, Qing dynasty, towards 1850].
Scroll painting executed on silk and traditional Chinese paper. Indian ink and colored wash drawing. Rolling up dark wood stick decorated with a blue silk strip. The diameter of the central line of the roll is approximately 2 cm. Multicolor silk decorating the cover.
Dimensions of the roll: approximate length of 3,85 m x 0,36 m width.
Superb horizontal Chinese painting representing the procession of a luxurious wedding.
The roll presents a range of many varied colors and particularly magnificent purple, pink and traditional green shades. The scene is also punctuated by the use of red which fills an important place in this festive theme. It is interesting to notice that skin colors are codified according to characters. Many gilt and silver highlights punctuate the scene and gives it depth. We can deduce from the luxurious nature of the painting that it was ordered by a noble, powerful and well-to-do family, as the visible inscriptions on the painting testimony, as well as the sumptuous bride trousseau gathered in a chest of great luxuriousness decorated with a dragon, symbol of power… The numerous details of the roll: gilt palanquins, magnificent lanterns and gift boxes emphasize the importance and the wealth of this family, without revealing at any moment his identity.
The painting bears three inscriptions: 1. On a banner: Deng Ke, 登科, meaning that a member of the family (probably the already deceased father) passed the imperial exams, at the highest level, opening to important responsibilities in the imperial government, 2. On a box: 登科, the same inscription than on the banner, but in stylized characters, 3. On another banner (the second character is partially hidden): Shi Jia, せ家, meaning that it is a “Mandarin” family (family members, through generations and since ancient times, have always been senior officials of the imperial government).
76 characters are represented on the painting.The procession is mainly composed of six groups, defined according to strict contemporary rules: a. the mother of the bride, carried on a palanquin, (the father, probably deceased is not represented on the roll), b. a first group of musicians, c. a group of characters carrying gifts, d. a second group of musicians, e. the bride at the head of a group of young women, member of the family or close friends of the bride, f. the carriers of the wonderful trousseau. Both groups of musicians are composed of 8 to 12 instruments, emphasizing the festive atmosphere. The musical instruments represented are of great interest for the historians of Chinese music: a cithara, various cornets, cymbals, flutes, drum or tambourine, a lute and two instruments of which we don’t know the equivalent in Europe and that might be percussion instruments.
The face of the 76 characters are expressive and unlike many Chinese paintings, are distinct and painted with great meticulousness. The cloths, in particularly vivid colors, are elegant, and in accordance with the celebration. A superb Chinese scroll painting, representing the bridal procession of a wealthy family under the Qing dynasty, sumptuously colored in vivid and shimmering shades with many gilt and silver highlights.