These framed silk brocade tapestries are two halves of a magnificent Qing-dynasty chair panel, or chair strip. Because traditional Chinese seating was not upholstered, fine textiles were draped across the backs and seats of grand armchairs for added comfort and luxury.
The panel is beautifully woven of blue, white, and gold silk threads with an intricate all-over pattern of hexagonal lattice dotted with flower blossoms, dragons, and phoenixes. At the bottom of the panel is a fu lion dog, or shizi, seated on a rock emerging from crashing waves. A protector of sacred spaces, the fu dog is shown here with his paw resting on an embroidered ball, a posture symbolizing his dominion over the universe.
Above the lion is a round medallion of abstract scrollwork suggestive of clouds, flowers, dragons, and bats. Above this, on the second panel, is a medallion framing a pagoda temple, surrounded by clouds, bats, and a crane - motifs of happiness and longevity. A shou character of longevity tops the panel, framed by peony blossoms. A blue border encloses the panel and indicates the top and bottom, patterned with auspicious symbols like double gourds, butterflies, and buddha's hand citron.