19th Century Chinese Silk Embroidered Panel of a Qilin from the Peking Opera

Silk embroidery on fine silk fabric with gold bound thread defining the drawing of the qilin, treasure chest and serpent. The panel was originally part of a magnificent and dramtic robe. In this depiction, the qilin, who is also associated with jewels, appears to be challenging a serpent protecting a jewel chest, which may be part of one of the myths or stories acted out by the Peking Opera which was founded in 1790 and somehow managed to surive the ravages of the Cultural Revolution under Madam Mao into the 21st century under communist rule. The panel was securely backed and bordered with printed cotton fabric in the early 20th century. The panel is in overall good condition for its age, the silk embroidery being particularly bright, with some marks, bleed to the blue around the serpent and a little distressing to the fine silk foundation fabric. It would make a fine wall hanging and could be mounted and framed.

The qilin (kirin or kylin) is one of the four supernatural creatures representing the celestial empire. She is associated with great sages and emperors and has similar mystical and spiritual attributions to the unicorn of western mythology. The qilin was originally a powerful and agressive creature with the ability to discern good from evil and over time became a protective and benevolent figure with qualities endowing prosperity, success and longevity. He is the 'familiar' of the Taoist gods.

The panel is 65cm x 50cm. €275