QIANLONG, Emperor of China - HELMAN, Isidore Stanislas (1743-1806?). Suite des seize estampes representant les Conquetes de l'empereur de la Chine, avec leur explication. Paris: chez l'Auteur, [1783-1788].
22 MAGNIFICENT engraved plates, including one folding panorama composed of three plates, each float-mounted and framed separately, numbered I-XXIV
I. Presenting the prisoners taken during the pacification of the Muslim tribes to the Emperor, 1754, from a drawing by Jean-Denis Attiret - "L'empereur Kien-Long, reçoit à Gé-Bo, les hommages des Eleuths, et leur donne pour Roi Amow-Sana (...)"
II. The great victory of the Chinese against Muslim troops, 1755, from a drawing by Jean Damascene - "Lau-Ti envoyé par l'empereur pour installer Amow-Sana surprend, Ta-Oua-Tsi (...)"
III. Raising the siege of the Black River, 1755, the second battle between the Chinese army and that of Ta-ou-Atsi who was beaten and taken prisoner in 1755, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione - "Second combat entre Pau-Ti et Ta-Oua-Tsi (...)"
IV. Storming of the camp at Garden-Ola, the Chinese army fighting Amour-sana who had betrayed them after receiving support against Ta-ou-Atsi, 1757, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione - "Amow-Sana établi roi des Eleuths par l'empereur (..)"
V. The Battle of Tonguzluq, the pillage of the capital of the Elauths, 1756, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione - "(..) Les armées impériales sont très affaiblies (...) mais il sélève une guerre civile entre les Eleuths (..)"
VI. The Emperor reviewing his troops, from a drawing by Jean Damascene - "(..) L'empereur passe en revue l'armée"
VII. The battle scene between the Emperor's Grand-General Tchao-Hoei and the resurgent Amour-sana, 1757, from a drawing by Jean Damascene - "Amow-Sana (..) rencontre Tchao-Hoei (..)"
VIII. Receiving the surrender of the Ili, from a drawing by Jean Damascene - "Tou-Té (..) reçoit les hommages (..) des kasacks (..)"
IX. The battle of Oroi-Jalatu, the destruction of the enemy camp, 1758, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione - "la révolte des Tcholos et des Hououtches"
X. The battle of Qos-Qulaq, the enemy is driven into the ravines in the mountains and trapped, 1758, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione - "Bataille gagnée pat Tchao-Hoei"
XI. The Khan of Badakhsan asks to surrender, a great feast is given in honor of the General, 1758, from a drawing by Jean Damascene - "Tchao-Hoei occupe les troupes à des exercices et jeux militaires (..)"
XII. The battle of Yesil-Kor-Nor in 1759, from a drawing by Jean Damascene - "Premier combat entre l'armée de l'empire et l'armée des deux Hot-Chow"
XIII. The Chief of Us (Turfan) surrenders with his city in 1759, against the two Hot-chom in the mountains of Pulok-koi, from a drawing by Jean-Denis Attiret - "Tcao-Hoei reçoit les hommages des habitants de la ville et de la province (..)"
XIV. The battle of Altchouv in 1759, from a drawing by Jean-Denis Attiret - "Bataille d'Atchow gagnée par Tou-Té contre les deux Hot-Chow"
XV. The battle of Arcul on 1st September 1759, against the two Hot-chom in the mountains of Pulok-koi, from a drawing by Jean-Denis Attiret - "Combat du 1er septembre 1759 de poulok-Kol (..)"
XVI. The Emperor gives a victory banquet for the officers and soldiers who distinguished themselves at battle, Imperial Palace Gardens, Beijing, on 5th July 1754, from a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione - "L'empereur reçoit les hommages des peuples vaincus (..)"
XVII. Ploughing ceremony conducted by the Emperor of China, after a painting belonging to Minister Henri-Leonard Bertin - "Cérémonie du labourage faite par l'empereur de la Chine"
XVIII - XIX - XX. Ordinary procession on the Emperor of China when he visits the city of Beijing, left leaf of a triptych dedicated to Charles Alexandre de Calonne (Minister of Finance), after a Chinese painting dated to 1717 belonging to Minister Henri-Leonard Bertin - Ordinary procession on the Emperor of China when he visits the city of Beijing, center leaf of triptych - Ordinary procession on the Emperor of China when he visits the city of Beijing, right leaf of triptych - "Marche ordinaire de l'empereur de la Chine lorsqu'il passe dans la ville de Pékin"
XXI - Ceremony in honour of the Emperor's senior advisors - "Fête donnée aux Vieillards par l'empereur Kien-Long" -
XXII - The emperor visits the tombs of his ancestors - "L'empereur va visiter les tombeaux de ses ancêtres"
XXIII - Ceremonies in honour of the Emporer before the tombs of his ancestors - "Cérémonies respectueuses de l'Empereur devant les tombeaux de ses ancêtres"
XXIV - The Emperor recites poems in honour of his ancestors - "L'Empereur récitant des poèmes en l'honneur de ses ancêtres"
Second and enlarged edition, first French issue, preceded by a Chinese issue with only sixteen engravings, printed in France. This later series depicts the battles, victories and ceremonies of the Chinese Emperor Qianlong, emperor of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), who ruled from 1735 to 1796. The original set of sixteen engravings depict his 1772-1776 military campaign, led by General A-Kuei, against the Jinchuan tribes in China's inner provinces and along the country's frontiers in the ethnically-Tibetan mountain regions of Szechuan, and were commissioned on the 13th of July 1765.
The templates for the first series of engravings were large paintings by European missionary artists employed at that time at the court in Beijing: Italian Jesuit Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), French Jesuit Jean-Denis Attiret (1702-1768), Bohemian Jesuit Ignatius Sichelbarth (1708-1780), and the Italian Augustinian missionary, Jean-Damascene Sallusti (d. 1781), after originals by Chun-ko-erh Hui-pu teng chu te sheng tu (1769-1774). The paintings were sent to France where the engravings for the first series of sixteen were executed in Paris, in the style of the Augsburg copper engraver Georg Philipp Rugendas the Elder (1666-1742), under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin of the Academie Royale at the court of Louis XVI. These engravings were printed in 1774 and distributed in China, with only a few rare proofs remaining in Europe.
Such was the French interest in Qianlong so great that Helman (a pupil of J.P. le Bas who had worked on the first series of plates) published reduced versions, as here, with captions in French, between 1783 and 1785. He added eight further plates depicting imperial ceremonies between 1786 and 1788, with an additional leaf of engraved labels for prints 1-18.
Qianlong's 'Battle Copper Prints' were just one of the means the Manchu emperor employed to document his campaigns of military expansion and suppression of regional unrest. They served to glorify his rule and to exert ideological control over Chinese historiography. In the history of Chinese art, copper-print engraving remained an episode. Seen in their political context, the Qianlong prints represent a distinct and exceptional pictorial genre and are telling examples of the self-dramatization of imperial state power. Later campaigns of Qianlong which were similarly commemorated include Taiwan (1786-1788), Annam or Vietnam (1788), Gurkhas invasion of Tiber (1790), and Yunnan, Guizhou and Hunan (1795-1796). Cordier 642; Lust 1131; Shiqu Baoji, Imperial Catalogue; Chuang Chi-fa, Taipei Palace Museum - Ten Military Campaigns ofQianlong Emperor; W. Fuchs, in Monumenta Serica, 4 (1939-40), 122; Paul Pelliot, 'Les 'Conquetes de l'Empereur de la Chine'', in Toung pao, 20 (1921), pp. 183-274; S. L. Shaw, Imperial printing, p. 22; Takata Tokio, 'QianlongEmperor's Copperplate Engravings of the 'Conquest of Western Regions,' The Memoirs of the Tokyo Bunko, 70, 2012.