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Gold Cup of Eternal Stability, 金甌永固杯
  • Ceremonial cup with stand
  • Gold Cup of Eternal Stability, 金甌永固杯
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Beijing, China
  • Date: 1740-1741
  • Medium: Gold, kingfisher feathers, pearls and gemstones (cup); wood, mother of pearl and stained ivory (stand)
  • Height: 18 cm, incl. stand
  • Height: 12.5 cm, cup
  • Width: 12 cm, cup
  • Diameter: 10 cm, stand
  • Inv: W112
  • Location: Arms and Armour I
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  • The Qianlong Emperor used the Gold Cup of Eternal Stability to drink tusu wine, a special herbal drink, to celebrate the Chinese New Year and assure stability of the country. The cup is decorated with kingfisher feathers which were cut and glued directly onto the gold surface. This ancient technique of decorating objects is called tian-tsui, which means ‘dotting with kingfishers’.

    Wallace bought this cup and the similar one in the collection (W113) at an auction in Paris in 1872. In the sale catalogue they are described as coming from the Summer Palace – the residence of the Chinese emperors that was looted and destroyed by Anglo-French troops in 1860, during the Second Opium War.