• Important Chinese Ceramics and auction at Christies

    Sale 2731

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    1 December 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1995

    A FINELY CARVED WHITE JADE VASE, GU

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINELY CARVED WHITE JADE VASE, GU
    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

    In the form of an archaic bronze gu, finely carved in shallow relief, the central mid-section decorated with interlinked stylised taotie masks, below the flared trumpet neck with upright leaves in archaistic style, flanked on either side with a mythical beast-head handle, each suspending a loose ring, supported on a short splayed foot similarly decorated with pendent leaves, the interior of the mouth rim carved with an integral horizontal flange, reserving a central oval aperture, the translucent stone of slight celadon tone with areas of 8~aque inclusions
    8 3/4 in. (22.3 cm.) high, wood stand


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    The present vase follows the archaic bronze prototype, gu, a type of wine vessel used in the rituals of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. By the Qing period, archaic forms and motifs found great popularity at court and a number of jades vessels, such as the present example, were produced to reflect the fashion of the period.

    One of the most interesting points of note in the case of the present vase is the addition of an internal flange on the interior of the mouth rim. The aperture would have permitted flowers to remain upright when placed inside the vase. With its relatively small central aperture, the complexity in carving the vessel would undoubtedly proved a serious challenge to the craftsman, particularly the polishing of the underside and interiors of the vase. Despite the technical difficulties, the lapidary had succeeded in hollowing the vessel evenly and allowing the translucency and colour of the natural stone to be fully appreciated. Another rare white jade gu-shaped vase also carved with an unusual inner flange was sold at Christie's London, King Street, 4 November 2008, lot 13.

    Provenance

    Acquired in China in the late 19th century and thence by descent to the present owner


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A NORTH AMERICAN FAMILY COLLECTION