Qian Long  by Michelle Samerjan

31.37" (w) x 27.87" (h) unframed
80 cm (w) x 70 cm (h)

38.0" (w) x 35.5" (h) with custom frame
96.5 cm (w) x 90 cm (h)

Over the centuries in China, to show appreciation at your host for pouring your tea, you would tap your fingers on the table. The practice began when the Emperor Qian Long (1735 - 1795) was touring his empire incognito. At a restaurant, the imperial entourage acting as merchants and commoners ordered two pots of tea. One for the Emperor and one for his servants. So as not to arouse suspicion, the Emperor took over the lowly job of pouring the tea and from his pot poured a cup for one of his servants. The servant would normally kneel and offer thanks, but this would reveal the Emperor's identity. So, he tapped two fingers on the table and made the motion of bending them so the Emperor would know his appreciation.

Acrylic, fluorescent and metallic paints on heavy hand-made French watercolor paper, veiled over in hand-made Japanese rice lace, bathed in a mixture of archival beeswax and polymers infused with UV-inhibitors, bordered with wooden insets wrapped with contemporary hand dyed silk, with outside panels covered with Yixing plaster sculpted with 17th - 18th century Asian fabric stamps, then painted and gilded, adorned at right with an early 1800's Chinese hand-carved wooden printing block with an image of Buddha, with suspended late 1800's Chinese tassel, wrapped at top with late 1800's Tibetan thangka cloth, adorned with early 1800's Tibetan coral from a lama's pouch and embroidered beads from an early 1800's Uzbekistan tent decoration, all mounted onto archival museum board.

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