The most usual interpretation of this lively scene of female equestrian figures is that of the female generals of the Yang family from the Northern Song dynasty (AD 960-1127). "The Generals of the Yang Family" was a Chinese folkloric novel from the Ming dynasty, 'Yang Jia Jiang', celebrating the Yang family for their military prowess and their loyalty to the Emperor during the unstable Northern Song dynasty. Three generations of Yang Generals were victorious in battles protecting China from northern invaders in this period. But the most poignant loyalty story of the Yang family is that of the Lady Generals, wives who rode out to battle to avenge their husbands' deaths, a tragedy that had resulted from a traitorous defection.
This design appears to have been particularly popular from about 1715-1735 and is most commonly found decorated in the rose-verte or famille rose palette. A pair of famille rose jars and covers from the Yongzheng period depicting this scene was sold in The Exceptional Sale, Christie's New York, 14 October 2020, lot 19.
Post Lot Text
A LARGE FAMILLE ROSE BEAKER VASE
CHINA, QING DYNASTY, KANGXI-YONGZHENG PERIOD (1662-1735)