• 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 1117

    A RARE AND FINELY CARVED YELLOW JADE 'ABSTINENCE' PLAQUE

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A RARE AND FINELY CARVED YELLOW JADE 'ABSTINENCE' PLAQUE
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    Well carved as two confronted dragons, their bodies formed by archaistic scroll framing an oval cartouche at the center with two characters reading zhai jie, the reverse similarly inscribed in Manchu, pierced through the center on the narrow sides, the semi-translucent stone of even yellow tone with some black inclusions at the bottom
    2 3/8 in. (6 cm.) high


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    Zhai jie is the ceremonial requirement for abstinence before one worshipped their ancestors, the Heavens or other deities, which usually lasted for three days. During this time, one should refrain from eating meat and fragrant herbs such as onions, chives, garlic and the like, consuming alcohol, and from any intimate acts.

    It is rare to find an abstinence plaque carved from yellow jade. However, plaques in other media are known. See S. Kwan, Ming and Qing Bamboo, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 424-5, no. 139, for an abstinence plaque in bamboo veneer. A famille rose-decorated porcelain example dated 18th/19th century was sold in these rooms, 19 September 2007, lot 432.

    Provenance

    Acquired in Hong Kong in 1986.