• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2297

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1220

    A RARE AND VERY FINELY CARVED ZITAN TABLE MIRROR

    18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A RARE AND VERY FINELY CARVED ZITAN TABLE MIRROR
    18TH CENTURY
    The mirror set within a beaded, rounded-rectangular zitan frame, raised on a solid zitan base with attractively beaded side posts flanked by standing spandrels elaborately and finely carved in the rococo manner with dense floral scroll, the design repeated on both sides of the feet, waist and elegantly shaped aprons
    35 in. (89 cm.) high, 23 5/8 in. (60 cm.) wide, 11 7/8 in. (30.2 cm.) deep


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    While the imitation and evocation of Chinese styles, known as Chinoiserie, was popular at the courts of Europe in the 18th century, there was a reciprocal vogue at the Chinese court for finely made items in the European style. This trend was seen at its most magnificent in the European palaces, Xiyanglou, built between 1747 and 1759 by the Qianlong Emperor in the northern part of the Yuanmingyuan. These buildings combine a mixture of Italian rococo style with Mughal-type foliate and floral elements. The present mirror is an excellent example of the heightened fashion of this period. See Ming Qing Gudai Jiaju Da Guan, vol. II, p. 540, no. 7 for a discussion on the early interactions between China and the West in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, and the subsequent influence in decoration found on some types of Chinese furniture. It is also interesting to compare the noticeable similarity in carving style found in a line drawing of a cabinet door, illustrated ibid., vol. II, p. 541, pl. 676, where the authors note that the carving is executed in the 'western' manner.

    While mirrors of this size and type are known, it is also a possibility that the current frame once held an embellished or enamelled panel. Compare the carving style on the stand of a much larger (141 cm.) mid-Qing zitan floor screen with ivory inlays of the thirteen foreign firms in Guangzhou, illustrated in Witness to the Qing Empire: Cultural Relics From the Palace Museum, vol. III, Macau, 2007, p. 345, no. 94. See another larger (145.5 cm.) zitan floor screen embellished with kingfisher feather in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, also with an elaborate stand carved in the European manner, illustrated in Ming Qing Guting Jiaju Da Guan, vol. II, Beijing, 2006, no. 363. Another larger zitan floor mirror, dated to the 18th/19th century, was sold in these rooms, 15 September 2009, lot 293.

    Provenance

    Acquired in Amsterdam in the 1960s.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN