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Throne Screen with Enamel Inlays

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Period: mid Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Medium: zitan wood
Dimensions: height: 294 cm, width: 395 cm

Guangdong Production

Comprised of five panels, the size of which decreases from the middle to the two sides, this screen has a rose sandalwood frame, a Sumeru-shaped stand, a carved top board and standing spandrels in designs of floating clouds and bats. Each panel is inlaid with relief enamel that is patterned with a different kind of bird in a landscape. Its notable feature is that each bird represents a traditional ethical relationship: phoenix for ruler and minister, white crane for father and son, mandarin duck for husband and wife, wagtail for elder and younger family relations, oriole for friends.   
  These five separate panels are joined into a continuous scene with mountains in the distance and a stream flowing from left to right. Ingeniously conceived, this enamel screen is one of the finest pieces of furniture in the collection of the Palace Museum.

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