Presentation Hanging for an Eightieth Birthday
On View In:
Gallery 200
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Presentation Hanging for an Eightieth Birthday  
Date:   1887  
Medium:   Embroidered satin  
Dimensions:   144 x 144 in. (365.76 x 365.76 cm)  
Credit Line:   The John R. Van Derlip Fund  
Location:   Gallery 200  

When made for court personages, government officials, or other members of the aristocracy, commemorative hangings proclaiming meritorious service, major birthdays, or anniversaries could be spectacular objects. The dedicatory inscriptions are typically dated, while the figural imagery relating to family history is Confucian in nature. Taoist emblems connoting long life are also a standard part of the decoration. This hanging celebrates the eightieth birthdays of a husband and wife. In China, major birthday celebrations were held at sixty, seventy, and eighty years of age. The border surrounding the inscription of this magnificent hanging is comprised of one hundred stylized variations of the shou character which means long life. The lengthy inscription, translated in part in the adjoining label, gives a clear rendition of Confucian values. As the case is here, prominent writers and calligraphers were typically recruited by the family to compose the actual verse.

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Inscription Inscribed the eleventh month of the thirteenth year of Kuang Hsu. the thirteenth year is in concorda  
Classification:   Textiles  
Physical Description:   Hanging, large, of embroidered blue black satin. Central panel contains a long inscription. In the wide border figures of the Eight Immortals, cranes, bats and various symbols in couched gold thread and colors. A birthday hanging presented to a couple on their 80th birthday. Lining of coarse blue cotton.  
Creation Place:   Asia, China, , ,  
Accession #:   42.8.308  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts