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    Sale 2622

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2600

    A FINELY CARVED AND VERY RARE WHITE JADE MYTHICAL BEAST GROUP

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINELY CARVED AND VERY RARE WHITE JADE MYTHICAL BEAST GROUP
    QING DYANSTY, 18TH CENTURY

    Superbly carved in the round from an even creamy white stone as a recumbent qilin beside a horse, the qilin with its head turned back to look over its arched spine, its head finely detailed with bulging eyes and mouth agape, surmounted by twin antlers and a finely incised mane, the horse supporting a bundle of books on a furled celestial ribbon draped over the backs of both the creatures
    5 in. (12.7 cm.) wide, wood stand


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    The qilin is a very auspicious mythical creature said live for a thousand years and to be the noblest of all animals and therefore to represent goodness. It is said to have the head of a dragon, the antlers of a stag, the body of a horse and the hooves of an ox. The appearance of a qilin was said to have been the sign of a virtuous ruler. The depiction of a qilin with a book refers to the legend of the birth of Confucius, according to which a qilin arrived bearing books announcing that he was a descendant of the water spirit, and a king without crown in the declining Zhou dynasty.

    A jade carving of a qilin bearing books in the Palace Museum Collection, Beijing, is illustrated in Jadeware (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, p. 114, pl. 94. Compare the carving of the horse with a white jade carving, also in the Palace Museum Collection, Beijing, included in the Art Gallery New South Wales exhibition, Translucent World: Chinese Jade from the Forbidden City, and illustrated in the catalogue, p. 209, pl. 147. Other stylistically very similar jade carvings of qilin include a winged example sold at Christie's Paris, 14 June 2006, lot 150 and a qilin grasping a peony branch sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1945. The superior quality of the stone and carving of the present example are worthy of note.

    The theme is also represented on a doucai dish in the Palace Museum Collection, Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi, Qianlong, Yongzheng, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 206, no. 35.

    Provenance

    Messrs. Bluett & Sons, London, June 1959
    E.J.C. Vint


    Pre-Lot Text

    Edward John Cyril Vint was born May 14, 1894 in Bradford at Richmond House. Richmond House was home to a family of collectors and they were a well established family in the wool trade. In the community they were known for their help and support, not only to the factory workers, but also for their generous sponsorship to artists and musicians of the time. E.J.C. Vint, known as Jack, was the youngest of the family and one of twins. After returning from the trenches of the First War he moved to a farm in Worcestershire where he established a successful fruit farm and it was here from about 1937 onwards that he really started his collection of Jades, having already established an important collection of Ivory and Amber. All through his life he shared his passion for his collections with his son, John, who continued to add considerably to the collections over the years. He is fondly remembered by his grandchildren whom he loved to indulge with a ready smile and mystical stories of a faraway land with flying dragons and magical pearls.

    PROPERTY FROM THE VINT FAMILY COLLECTION