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Panel, 1700-1825. Guangzhou, China. Satin silk, embroidered with silks. Museum number: T.245-1921. Victoria & Albert Museum  © V&A Images.

This embroidered hanging depicts the martyrdom of St Sebastian (traditionally believed to have taken place around 288). The red silk background (now faded) is the colour associated with the commemoration of Christian martyrs in the Roman Catholic Church. This textile was probably used during a religious procession. It may have been produced by Chinese embroiderers in Macao or Canton, either for Portuguese colonial settlers in Macau, or for export to Portuguese colonies.