• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2196

    Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    15 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 237

    A VERY RARE IMPERIALLY INSCRIBED ZITAN STAND AND COVER

    DATED TO THE WU XU YEAR OF THE REIGN OF THE EMPEROR QIANLONG, CORRESPONDING TO 1778, AND OF THE PERIOD

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE IMPERIALLY INSCRIBED ZITAN STAND AND COVER
    DATED TO THE WU XU YEAR OF THE REIGN OF THE EMPEROR QIANLONG, CORRESPONDING TO 1778, AND OF THE PERIOD
    The cover and stand very finely carved overall as a ribbon-tied, brocade-wrapped gift divided into quadrants by the ribbon which is superimposed atop the bow by a rectangular panel carved with the characters hu fu yan ('crouching tiger inkstone'), the quadrants carved with different scenes of birds in flight above waves from which rise various flowers and grasses, the interior of the cover with a carved and gilded imperial poem referring to the shape of the inkstone followed by the date and two seals, the top of the stand carved with a four-character inscription, Qianlong yuyong, (for the personal use of Qianlong), followed by a four-character seal, ji xia ling chi, ('a brief moment to practice calligraphy'); together with a flat clay inkstone of recumbent tiger outline, and a clay inkstone cover molded in the round as a crouching tiger, its recessed underside inscribed with the same dated Qianlong poem and seals as the cover of the zitan box, both inkstone and inkstone cover with mottled green patination
    Zitan box 6 3/8 in. (16.3 cm.) long; inkstone 5¼ in. (13.3 cm.) long


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    A clay inkstone and cover molded as a crouching tiger very similar to the present lot, of Qianlong date, are illustrated in Emperor Ch'ien-lung's Grand Cultural Enterprise, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2003, p. 113, no. III-4. One can see in the illustration that the example in the Imperial collection also has mottled green patination in imitation of the green encrustation found on ancient bronzes.
    Also illustrated, ibid., are several boxes that were specially made for valued objects in the Imperial collection. Some have finely carved decoration, as well as gilt-filled inscriptions: I-20, a box for two Imperial jade seals; I-41, a curio box; and II-19, a box for a jade cup.

    Provenance

    Formerly J.M. Hu Collection.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM AN EAST COAST COLLECTION