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    Sale 12171

    Dongxi Studio- Important Chinese Jade and Hardstone Carvings from a Distinguished Private Collection

    17 March 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 958

    A RARE WELL-CARVED WHITE AND RUSSET JADE PHOENIX-FORM WATER POT

    LATE MING-EARLY QING DYNASTY, 17TH-18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE WELL-CARVED WHITE AND RUSSET JADE PHOENIX-FORM WATER POT
    LATE MING-EARLY QING DYNASTY, 17TH-18TH CENTURY
    Carved from a large pebble, the partially hollowed vessel is in the shape of a recumbent phoenix, the body sloping from the front where the backward-turned neck and head of the bird are well carved in high relief and undercut, towards the other side where the closed left wing projects from the body above one of the curled, openwork tail feathers. The bird grasps a lingzhi stem in its beak, and clutches a bamboo cane in its talons, all carved in low relief on the underside, and the back is centered by a small circular aperture. The semi-translucent stone has a pale greenish-white tone and areas of russet color. Together with a tubular dropper surmounted by openwork lingzhi that surround the tiny air hole at the top of the dropper.
    4 in. (10.2 cm.) wide, wood stand, box


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    The auspicious phoenix, chief among birds, also symbolizes the empress. It is associated with bamboo as well as the wutong tree, and both the phoenix and bamboo symbolize peace.
    Water pots of this type, with droppers, are usually of animal or bird form, the partially hollowed body of the creature forming a perfect receptacle for the water. A small circular aperture in the back is then fitted with a tubular dropper for the application of the water to an inkstone. This was achieved by placing a finger over the small air hole at the top of the dropper, allowing the tube to draw up water, and then releasing the water onto the inkstone. A water pot and dropper of this type in the shape of a toad carved on the sides with four of the Five Poisonous Creatures, with the fifth Creature, the spider, surmounting the dropper, is illustrated by G. Tsang and H. Moss in Arts of the Scholar's Studio, Oriental Ceramic Society, Hong Kong, 1986, pp. 222-23, no. 206, where it is dated Ming dynasty or earlier. Another water pot of this type, also dated Ming dynasty, 16th century or earlier, is illustrated, p. 159, no. 131. It is in the shape of a tuolong (a mythical creature combining the shape of a tortoise and a dragon) surrounded by waves. A circular aperture in the back would have been fitted with a now-missing dropper. Another phoenix-form water pot with peach-surmounted dropper in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is illustrated by M. Knight et al., Later Chinese Jades, Asian Art Museum, 2007, p. 267, no. 289, where it is dated Qing dynasty. See, also, the water pot in the shape of a duck, its head turned back to rest beside the duckling that surmounts the dropper, illustrated by R. Keverne in Jade, New York, 1991, p. 207, fig. 14 (bottom).

    Provenance

    Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 November 1985, lot 25.
    Bernstein & Co., San Francisco, 15 November 1991.


    Literature

    Nicole De Bisscop, Chinese Jade and Scroll Paintings from the Dongxi Collection, Brussels, 1995, p. 100, no. 55.


    Exhibited

    Chinese Jade and Scroll Paintings from the Dongxi Collection, Kredietbank Gallery, Brussels, 25 October - 17 December 1995; Krediebank Luxembourg, 1 February - 13 April 1996, no. 51.