- Museum number
- Series: Victoires et Conquêtes de l'Empereur de la Chine
Plate 7 from a set of sixteen plates; in the foreground, a Qing general (Zhaohui or Fude ?) on horseback on a rocky outcrop with his soldiers, one firing a cannon; just below, to right, Qing cavalry chase the enemy cavalry; to left in the middle ground, Qing troops on the bank of the Black River (Qara usu) across which a bridge is being constructed,the camp behind; in the immediate foreground, resting camels with cannon supports on their backs. 1771
Etching and engraving
- Production date
Height: 568 millimetres (plate-mark; trimmed at top)
Width: 924 millimetres (trimmed to plate-mark)
- Curator's comments
Plate 7 is often titled in modern literature: 黑水圍解 The lifting of the siege of the Black River; La levée du siège de la Rivière Noire. None of the plates in the original edition was ever lettered with a title.
The print illustrates the end of the siege of a camp at Qara usu (the Black River), near Yarkand. Qing troops were blockaded there over the winter of 1758 for three months. According to some sources, they were saved by the arrival of the army led by General Fude and others; according to others, Zhaohui, on hearing that relief troops were coming, broke free.
This print is from a complete set (1848,0205.517 to 532) of the sixteen plates known as 'Victoires et Conquêtes de l'Empereur de la Chine' commemorating the Qianlong Emperor's victories in Central Asia from 1755 to1759. They are in a volume half-bound in leather with marbled boards, with gold tooling and 'CHINESE BATTLES' on the spine. There is also an incomplete set of fifteen prints (1932,0715.46 to 59, including 48*). For further information, see the Curator's Comment for 1932,0715.57.
See also the Royal Academy exhibition catalogue, 'China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795', edited by Evelyn S. Rawski and Jessica Rawson, London, 2005, no. 75, pp. 169 and 407.
The British Museum Register lists Lebas's five etchings as plates III, V, IX, XIV and XV while IFF lists them as plates III, IV, V, IX and XVI, and Bocher (catalogue raisonné of Saint-Aubin, p.295) as plates III, V, IX, XIV and XVI.
The Lifting of the Siege of the Black River Camp
Heishui weijie 黑水圍解
The print illustrates a siege of the Qing army camp on the banks of the Black River (Qara-usu), during the Qianlong Emperor’s East Turkestan campaign. A figure on horseback giving instructions is a Qing general. The camp is shown on the far side of the river, with soldiers at work on a bridge. There are two accounts of how the siege ended: the general and his army may have been saved by relief troops or alternatively he broke out himself on hearing of their arrival. This print was engraved and printed in Paris for the Qianlong emperor to commemorate his victory in the campaign.
Jacques-Philippe Le Bas (1707–83) after a drawing by Giuseppe Castiglione (1688–1766)
Etching with engraving from a copper plate on European paper
Prints & Drawings 1932,0715.51
Published: The Printed Image in China (2010)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2010 May-Sep, BM, Dept of Asia, The Printed Image in China
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Victories of Emperor Qianlong 1755-1759
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number