• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2623

    Dowager Empress Cixi: Elegance of the Late Qing

    3 December 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 2246

    A VERY RARE IMPERIAL OPENWORK ALOESWOOD HAIRPIN, BIAN FANG

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE IMPERIAL OPENWORK ALOESWOOD HAIRPIN, BIAN FANG
    QING DYNASTY, LATE 19TH CENTURY

    The spatulate fragrant wooden hairpin is carved at one end with a hollowed cylinder, inset with a pearl on either side of the aperture, flanking a carnelian carving in the form of a ruyi-head, the flat panel finely carved in openwork with flowering prunus branches, bordered by a keyfret band and set within a row of delicately inlaid gold florettes
    12 1/16 in. (30.6 cm.) long


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The bianfang formed a part of the qi tou, the headdress of Manchu ladies of rank. They were worn across the top of the headdress to stiffen the frame. It appears that a number of materials including jadeite, white jade, gold, and tortoise shell, were used in fashioning the bianfang, and a number of these examples were included in the exhibition, Qingdai Houji Shoushi, 'Jewelry and Accessories of The Royal Consorts of Ching Dynasty', Forbidden City Press, 1992, pp. 25-27, nos. 11-22. Compare also a similar aloeswood example inlaid with gold, pearl and jadeite, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, the Imperial Sale, 27 April 1997, lot 95.