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CHINESE IMPERIAL EXAMINATION “CHEAT’S HANDKERCHIEF”

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Scholar Art: Pre 1837 VR: Item # 1073752

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THE VANISHING HEAVENS
19355 Fitzgerald Lane
Covington Louisiana 70435
985-373-7855

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CHINESE IMPERIAL EXAMINATION “CHEAT’S HANDKERCHIEF”
A very fine double sided ink on silk calligraphy. A rectangular piece of cream silk which has been covered front and back with minute Chinese characters that have been written with brush and ink. Characters are written in vertical paragraphs and vertical columns and arranged in four registers. There is a narrow border of unadorned silk on all four sides. In excess of 15,000 characters total. Framed at front and verso in acrylic. Matting of raw indigo silk at the front andraw beige silk at the back with a gilded wood frame at both sides. This internal frame sits inside a custom acrylic display box which is easily opened for removal of the piece. This so called cheat's handkerchief, some comprising excerpts from The Analects by Confucius, was prepared for a male candidate who was sitting for the imperial examinations. It was designed as a crib sheet and would have been folded up and concealed on the body or sewn into the lining of a robe so as not to be detected when the examinee went into the exam cell. The silk was prepared by a process applying alum enabling the silk to take the ink and minute characters without running or blurring. The text has been translated by the noted China scholar Dr. James Legg , Stamford University and Dr. T. L. Ride, Vice Chancellor of Hong Kong University as being from The Works of Mencius, one of the five Chinese Classics based on his discussions with kings of the time. Ref: Columbia University, C.V. Starr Museum of East Asian Studies Art Museum of New South Wales Minneapolis Art Museum Victoria and Albert Museum, London Dimensions: The Acrylic Frame: 23 1/2 inches wide X 22 inches high Acrylic Frame Stand at Bottom: 27 1/4 inches wide X 4 inches deep The Silk Matting Around the Silk Handkerchief: 3 inches wide15 1/4 high The Silk Handkerchief Itself: 16 1/4 inches wide X 15 1/4 inches high


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