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Eight engravings depicting the second East Turkestan conquest commissioned by the Daoguang Emperor

Title
[Pingding Huijiang Desheng Tu].
Author
HE SHIKUI
Publication place
[Beijing],
Publication date
c1830.
Dimensions
555 by 900mm (each) (21.75 by 35.5 inches).
Price
£60,000
Reference
12563

Description

Eight (of ten) engravings, some inscribed with Imperial poems, accompanied by the Emperor's seal mark, and dated the first month of 1829, numerous worm traces with engraved surface skilfully reinstated in facsimile.

Condition

Numerous wormholes, damp spots, missing the first ‘Battle at River Honbasi’ and the second ‘Battle at Korping’ engravings of the series.

Notes

A rare set of eight engravings from a series of ten – Pingding Huijiang Desheng Tu 平定回疆得勝圖 (Images of the reconquest of East Turkestan), commissioned by Emperor Daoguang 道光 (1782-1850, r.1820-1850), commemorating his victory of the second campaign in Kashgar against the rebel Jahangir Khoja during the years 1826-1835, and depicting various battles on mountainous terrain and by fortified villages; the surrender of the enemy; and a palace reception honouring the victors.

In 1826, Jahangir, a scion of an ousted ruling family from East Turkestan began a holy war against the Qing Empire. Daoguang emperor responded in 1827 by sending General Changling and 22,000 troops to reconquer the city of Kashgar and to capture Jahangir. Jahangir escaped but was later betrayed and sent to Beijing, where the Daoguang emperor had him ritually presented at the Imperial Ancestral temple before he was quartered.

The complete set of engravings are titled:
1. Battle at the Hobasi River
2. Battle at the Korping
3. Battle at Yangi-arbat
4. Battle at Sabdul-zhuang
5. Battle at Awabat-zhuang
6. Recapture of Kashgar and Capture of the Rebel Chief
7. Recapture of Khotan and capture of rebel chief, Garla
8. Capture of the Rebel Chief, Jahangir, at the Hartagai Mountain
9. Presentation of the prisoners at the Wumen gate
10. Banquet of the victory at Zheng Da Guang Ming Palace

The first two engravings in the series are not present here.

The set of engravings of Daoguang's military conquest of Turkestan in 1830, is the rarest of the eight imperially commissioned battle engravings, and the final group ever produced. Daoguang followed the precedent of his grandfather Emperor Qianlong 乾隆 (1711-1799, r. 1735-1796), who commissioned seven series of copperplate engravings commemorating his victorious battles. The majority of the Qianlong engravings were produced in Europe, such as the set of sixteen illustrating the First Turkestan Campaign, published in France under the direction of C.N. Cochin between 1769 and 1774.

Unlike the Qianlong engravings, the present series was entirely produced in China. Only sixty sets were printed and given only to princes and high officials. As a result, the 1830 engravings are considerably more scarce than the earlier Qianlong editions. Furthermore, among the domestically produced engravings, scholars consider the 1830 set to be the best in quality.

Von Walter Fuchs in his essay 'Die Entwürfe der Schlachtenkupfer der Kienlung-und Taokuang-Ziet' (The Drafts of the Battle Engravings of the Qianlong and Daoguang period.), Monumenta Serica, vol. 9, 1944, pp. 101-122, mentions four existing sets of Daoguang engravings (p. 119, footnote 83): one in the collection of Luo Zhenyu, one in the Dairen Library, one in the Peking jimbun kagaku kenkyûsho, and one in his own collection. See also Harmut Walravens, 'Die Schlachtenbilder der Qianlong-und Daoguang-Zeit' in China Illustrata: Das Europäsche Chinaverständnis im Spiegel des 16 bis 18 Jahrhunderts, Weinheim, 1987, pp. 36-56, discussing the Imperial Battle paintings of Qianlong and Daoguang. A copy of the complete series, mounted in a horizontal roll, sold at Sotheby's New York, 21st September 2006, lot 10.

Cf. a Qianlong set of sixteen leaves in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated Complete Collection of the Treasures of the Palace Museum, vol.14. Paintings by the Court Artists of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 41.