DESCRIPTION: A large and impressive Chinese hardwood plaque, dating from the early 19th century, Qing Dynasty. This imposing plaque has four large Chinese characters carved into the center panel, with longer inscriptions in smaller characters to each side. Translated, this plaque was presented as a birthday present to a man named "Yang" in 1817 (the 21st year of the reign of Jiaqing, 1796 - 1820), and states that the honoree's life represented excellence in both virtue and longevity.
Encircling the center panel is a narrow carved border in a key-fret meander. This whole center panel is mounted into a substantial, hand hewn frame, around which are found twenty-four deeply and beautifully carved cartouches that contain various Chinese symbols. These include characters for longevity and good fortune at each of the four corners, four rectangles with entwined opposing dragons, and six rectangles with various Buddhist and auspicious symbols such as the lotus, horn and censer. Finally, ten rectangles have figures of immortals including Chang Kuo-lau riding his mule backwards, Han Hsiang-Tzu playing his flute, and the scholar Lu Tung-pin with his Taoist fly-brush.
HISTORY: Inscribed plaques emerged in China more than 2,000 years ago and are inextricably tied to Chinese culture. The plaques and the calligraphy on them take the viewer on a voyage deep into the legends, poetry, and history of Chinese culture. To a large extent the plaques mirror the politics, religion, economy and folk customs of their era. Scholars hung inscribed plaques in the great halls or studies of their houses to encourage virtue and express their feelings or beliefs. Many of these are inscribed with the sayings of ancient emperors, famous poets and scholars. They were also presented with great honor to recognize a person for some outstanding quality. In the last photo of this listing, three plaques can be seen mounted prominently on the ceiling at a preserved Qing official’s household. Antique inscribed plaques are becoming difficult to find and their prices in China have increased dramatically.
DIMENSIONS: 87.50” long x 44” high x 2.25” thick. Shipping to be handled by Craters & Freighters. CONDITION: Excellent, with traces of the original red, gold and green colors still evident.