Kangxi is not afraid to go to war but prefers peace. His tours are opportunities to link with the Four Occupations in their local particularities : gentry, peasants, craftsmen and merchants. The loyalty to the Emperor requires to understand and to be understood. Kangxi is a great statesman, lucid, responsible and effective.
The second trip took place during the 29th year of the reign, 1689 in our calendar. It was fruitful and promising and they must preserve its memory. An imperial decree orders the execution of a scroll divided into twelve parts showing in a continuity the steps of the long journey.
The project is politically important and an administrator is appointed. The artistic supervision is entrusted to Wang Hui, a renowned artist familiar with the southern landscapes.
For six years, the team of artists applies strictly on a silk strip 68 cm high the detailed instructions of Master Wang concerning the topographic features, the more or less close distance to villages and mountains, the actions of the emperor and the daily life of the people.
The overall length of the twelve scrolls, completed around the 37th year of the reign, is 200 meters. Two of the twelve scrolls are not located. The sixth scroll was divided in France circa the 1930s. Its fragments are the only elements of the set in private hands. At least two fragments of the sixth scroll are still missing.
Three fragments were auctioned by Briscadieu-Bordeaux in 2013 and 2014. One of them including dock scenes was sold for € 3,36M including premium on 27 April 2013.
The longest fragment of the sixth scroll, measuring 4.75 m, is estimated $ 4M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on September 14, lot 576. In a bird's-eye view demonstrating a remarkable control of the topographic representation, boats travel around the many islands of a river.
The tweet pasted below shows a detail. Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's :
SOLD for $ 9.5M including premium