Chinese Imperial Proclamation, ca. 1795

Value (2011) | $6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
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GUEST:
When we found out we were coming to the Roadshow, we went to the safety deposit box to get the items we had planned to bring. And this scroll was rolled up in the box. And then I remembered that my mother-in-law had bought it as an investment. When she divided up the family heirlooms, my husband ended up with this piece. I have no idea when she bought it. I'm guessing it was somewhere in the '70s. There was a little note that said it was kind of a Chinese honor scroll. Rolled up, it's about almost three inches in diameter.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. And it's not very long, about a foot long. But when you open it up, the entire thing, it's about 25 feet long.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And the color and the size is specific to this particular type of scroll. And it's a type of scroll that we would call an imperial proclamation.

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
So it was something that the emperor did to proclaim either... generally you find it when they're trying to promulgate information about a law, or some decree. That's one type of scroll that you get. The other is when they're conferring a particular honor on a specific individual.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And that's what this scroll is. These all have this kind of wonderful coloration. And this type of weaving is a type of tapestry called Kesi, K-E-S-I. And it's this fantastic quality where you have multiple colors, often woven with gold thread, incorporating dragons and clouds, and there's the phoenix, and all types of animals. Now, actually, somebody had this open for a while, and that's why this is discolored. But as you go on, you see that there also are these inscriptions in various types of script. They incorporated Manchu script, and Mongolian, and other scripts everyone would know within the Chinese empire. And if we opened this in its entirety, you would also see imperial seals to indicate that this was an official document, and there would be calligraphy at the other end that further explained the purpose of this. They made these during varying times. The majority of the ones that we run across date from the 18th century through various periods in the 19th century. This one actually has a specific date to it, which is early in the first year of the Jiaqing Emperor's reign, which was in 1795, '96, in that time frame.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
And then the purpose of this one was that this is a proclamation honoring a particular individual and the achievements of that individual. The value partially depends on who that person was that received the award that was recognized by the emperor, or the occasion that was being recognized. I would say a conservative figure would be $6,000 to $8,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
If it sold for $20,000, would I be surprised? Absolutely not.

GUEST:
Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, New York
Appraised value (2011)
$6,000 Auction$8,000 Auction
Event
Minneapolis, MN (July 09, 2011)
Period
18th Century
Form
Scroll
Material
Silk

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