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    Sale 2622

    Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2598

    A VERY RARE IMPERIAL GILT COPPER 'WHEEL OF LAW' EMBLEM

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE IMPERIAL GILT COPPER 'WHEEL OF LAW' EMBLEM
    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

    The wheel emblem is finely cast and chased on either side with a central domed stylised flowerhead with scrolling pillars radiating outwards to two concentric bands inlaid with lapis and coral beads divided by floral scrolls, supported on a double-lotus pod and foliate scroll pedestal raised on a slightly domed base incised with turbulent waves, the shaped apron and ruyi-form feet detailed with lotus scroll
    11 7/8 in. (30.2 cm.) high


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    Compare with an identical gilt copper Wheel of Law emblem in the Palace Museum Collection, Taipei, included in A Special Exhibition of Buddhist Gilt Votive Objects, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1995 and illustrated in the catalogue, no. 10 (fig. 1). Compare also another Wheel of Law emblem with an identical base but mother-of-pearl inlaid central wheel included in the same exhibition and illustrated, no. 11.

    The Wheel of Law is one of the Eight Buddhist Emblems and represents the inexorable expansion of the Buddha's teachings. The wheel is also represented among the Seven Regal Symbols where it is additionally known as the Holy Wheel, the Golden Wheel and the Wheel of Life.

    Buddhist altar ornaments were made in a variety of materials, and complete sets can be found in the Lamaist temples in the precincts of the Forbidden City, Beijing, and in the Summer Palace in Chengde. See for example the set from the Chengde Imperial Mountain Resort Museum, included in the exhibition Imperial China: The Living Past, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1992, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 78.