Yellow silk throne seat cushion cover

Dimensions: 44 x 44 inches, 110.8 x 110.8 cm
Width: 2 3/4 inches, 7.2 cm

Yellow silk throne seat cushion cover

China, 19th century

A yellow silk throne seat cushion cover of square format, delicately embroidered ton-sur-ton with a central, triple lined foliate cartouche containing two scaly, horned dragons flying amongst cloud scrolls and confronting each other over a flaming pearl. The four corners are each embroidered with clusters of peony flowers. The outer edge is embroidered with a frieze of continuous foliate scrolls.

A throne carved in polychrome lacquer is preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.’ Originally, its hard surface would have been padded withm cushions, and the present cover is a perfect example of what was applied to the type of cushion that would have ornamented such a throne. A yellow silk throne seat cover of similar dimensions, decorated with dragons and dated to the Kangxi period, 17/18th century, is in the collection of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.[2] According to Terese Bartholomew, depictions of two dragons facing each other signify “a happy reunion” (xi xianfeng).[3]

  1. Bisscop, N. de, and Kesel, W.G. de: Chinees lakwerk, Zutphen, 1982, plate 120 page 106
  3. Tse Bartholomew, T. Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 2006,n2.8.1,np. 43