GENERAL CHARLES GEORGE 'CHINESE' GORDON, CB (1833-1885)
Estimate: £5,000 - £8,000
ca. US$8,756 - US$14,010
Price realised: £10,800
GENERAL CHARLES GEORGE 'CHINESE' GORDON, CB (1833-1885) Relics of General Gordon comprising: Gordon's Imperial Dragon robe ( pu fu ), dark blue twill silk with roundels, three smooth spherical metal buttons at collar and waist, four metal buttons with leaf patterns, Gordon's name on a paper label sewn into the collar; A black lacquered cane with ivory and metal mounts, 892mm. long; A set of three bamboo seals in a box and cover, dated to Tongzhi Yi chou (1865), the seals bearing the Chinese syllables for Gordon (Ko têng) in modern and classical styles (with a sheet bearing impressions of the seals and a description); A scroll bearing Chinese calligraphy couplets sent by Gordon to his sister (many damages and losses, in two pieces); A glass plate negative studio portrait photograph of Gordon wearing a fez and his uniform of Governor General of the Sudan at Khartoum; and a passport belonging to his father, Henry William Gordon (1821) (a lot). PROVENANCE: General Gordon (the robe presented to Gordon by the Emperor Tongzhi) and by gift and descent to his elder sister Elizabeth Maria Dunlop, and thence by descent to Mrs R F Dunlop. Her sale Sotheby's, 18 July 1966, lot 7 (part). EXHIBITED: Boston, The Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Empire of the Warrior Prophet, The Sudan in the Age of the Mahdi 1881-1898 , Oct. 1998. A collection of Gordon's personal relics, the majority from his service in China (1860-1865). After operating under Sir James Hope Grant with the French forces against China, and present at the capture of Peking and destruction of the Emperor's Summer Palace in October 1860, Gordon left to explora the interior before being called back to clear the Shanghai district of the rebel Taipings. He led the force raised by the Shanghai merchants and supported by the Chinese government which engaged the rebels, defeating them and suppressing the rebellion in 1864. He is said to have led the 'Ever Victorious Army' (a few thousand Chinese led by British officers) armed only with his little cane (presumably his black lacquered cane in the present lot) which his men called his 'magic wand'. Seconded to the Chinese, he was promoted to the order of the first rank by the Emperor, and in 1864 awarded the yellow jacket and peacock's feather of a mandarin of the first class, with the title of Ti-Tu, the highest military rank in China. Many of his Chinese court costumes, presented by the Emperor, are now in the Royal Engineers Museum, Chatham (see for example his yellow riding jacket ( Huang ma gua ) and first rank military official's surcoat ( pu fu ), in the same pattern as the present robe, but with the additional 'mandarin square' rank badge ( qi lin ), illustrated in G. Dickinson and L. Wrigglesworth, Imperial Costume , London, 1990, pls.98 and 119).
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