Zhou Peichun was an artist who flourished during the Qing Dynasty (fl.1865-1910) in Peking (Beijing). His studio would come to specialise in producing albums of paintings of Chinese customs, largely for foreigners. ‘Export paintings’ were very popular at the time. In order to produce them in numbers he had the studio copy his originals.
The image depicts a procession led by numerous attendants carrying lanterns, umbrellas, plaques and flags. They lead two palanquins accompanied by various officials. The artists name is found lower left in Chinese ‘painted by Zhou Peichun in Beijing’. A search for the image has only located examples on plain beige coloured silk. We have been unable to locate one on such fine blue silk. This is likely not an original but is however due to the nature of the silk a special example. Little is known about Zhou Peichun. We do not have his date of birth or death. We do know that his shop was just outside the Shunzhimen gate. This is the west gate of the Wanping fort, a Ming Dynasty fortress, or walled city in Beijing. It was erected 1638-40. Zhou also produced a map of Beijing in 1865, examples survive at Harvard and in the MacLean Collection. References: private correspondence Richard Pegg, MacLean Collection; Victoria and Albert Museum Accession 1934 no. E.2960-1934 (watercolour on paper).