Panel with the Chinese Character for Longevity (Shou)

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)

Date: 18th century

Culture: China

Medium: Silk and metallic thread tapestry (kesi)

Dimensions: Overall: 95 x 57 1/2 in. (241.3 x 146.1 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Tapestries

Credit Line: Gift of Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.353


Perfect for a birthday celebration and probably intended as a gift, this massive panel extends one of the most cherished wishes in Chinese tradition: longevity, in the form of the Chinese character for that blessing, shou. The tapestry is meticulously executed with gold threads that parallel calligraphic effects, including the use of smudged areas at the end of several strokes—a technique known as “flying white” that reveals the mobility and rhythm of brushstrokes found in writing.