This work has been restored thanks to a generous gift from Christian Thériault.
This opulently decorated throne originally belonged to Sir William Van Horne, the earliest collector of Asian art in Canada. It was carved out of a soft wood, covered with red, black and dark green pigments inlaid into a vermillion lacquer surface (the tianqi technique) and incised with gold leaves (the qiangjin technique). The form, the lacquer techniques and the pictorial details all point to an imperial provenance, as do the five-clawed dragons skillfully executed on the back panels. These celestial creatures appear on furniture of the Ming and Qing dynasties meant only for the emperor; this example may have borne the emperor while on tour outside the imperial palace. How it arrived in Montreal is still a mystery: Van Horne never set foot in China, although he had business dealings with the imperial government. The throne furnished his home on Sherbrooke Street until his daughter donated it to the museum in 1944.