In one tapestry from a series known as The Story of the Emperor of China, a woman standing at the left, possibly the Chinese empress, gestures with her fan toward the tropical bounty and beyond to the six-storied pagoda and other buildings in the distance. The tapestry's foreground shows a field of pineapples and other plants, including a palm and a tall banana tree.
The first pineapple grown in France had been given to the King of France, Louis XIV, but the fruit was still rare in the early 1700s and its form was probably unknown to the Beauvais artists who wove the tapestry. They learned about foreign plants such as tea, coconuts, ginger, and pineapples, as well as images of their harvesting, from botanical engravings. Beginning in the 1660s, such engravings were available in France through the published accounts of Jesuit missionaries and the Dutch East India Company.
These tapestries are from a series called The Story of the Emperor of China, featuring imagined Chinese scenes. The Getty has six other tapestries from this same set: La Collation, Les Astronomes, L’Empereur en voyage, Le Retour de la chasse, Le Thé de l’impératrice, and L’Embarquement de l’impératrice.