Scroll Cover for Imperial Calligraphy

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911), Qianlong period (1736–95)

Culture: China

Medium: Silk and metallic thread tapestry (kesi)

Dimensions: Overall: 15 x 13 1/2 in. (38.1 x 34.3 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Tapestries

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1941

Accession Number: 41.123.2


This wonderful textile illustrates the continuation of the use of luxurious tapestries as covers for paintings and calligraphies. The inscription states that it was produced to accompany the Qianlong Emperor’s calligraphy of his own essay discussing the difficulty and ease of founding and maintaining an empire. As a tailor-made cover for an imperial work, the tapestry is superb: the body of the dragon is executed in gold thread, and the flowers and leaves are rendered in subtle hues and shades.