An imperial nine dragon embroidered panel. Qianlong period. photo Sotheby's

embroidered with nine gold dragons, the central frontally-faced dragon chasing a flaming pearl, on a pale yellow ground with swirling ruyi-form clouds, scrolling flames and bats above an island and ruyi-form breaking waves and mountains, later hard wood frame, 74cm. by 102cm., 29 1/8 in. by 40 1/8 in. Est. 15,000—20,000 GBP Lot Sold 73,250 GBP

NOTE: This panel is impressive for its immaculately embroidered design of nine dragons, which have been finely rendered in various thread thicknesses and tones and thus heighten the opulence of the piece. See an imperial cushion cover similarly embroidered with nine dragons on a yellow ground, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated in Verity Wilson, Chinese Textiles, London, 2005, pl. 39. Compare also a related throne cushion cover of smaller size, but depicting five dragons, sold at Christie's New York, 29th March 2006, lot 278; and a cushion cover embroidered with five dragons in blue and gold thread on a yellow ground, sold at Christie's London, 4th December 1995, lot 3.

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 12 May 10. London www.sothebys.com