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    Sale 5000

    Cloisonnés d'Exception - Collection Juan Jose Amezaga - Seconde Partie

    7 December 2007, Paris

  • Lot 31

    RARE ET IMPORTANTE GLACIERE IMPERIALE COUVERTE EN BRONZE DORE ET EMAUX CLOISONNES

    CHINE, DYNASTIE QING, EPOQUE QIANLONG (1736-1795)

    Price Realised  

    RARE ET IMPORTANTE GLACIERE IMPERIALE COUVERTE EN BRONZE DORE ET EMAUX CLOISONNES
    CHINE, DYNASTIE QING, EPOQUE QIANLONG (1736-1795)
    De forme quadrangulaire, les côtés ornés en émaux colorés et subtils de quatre décors différents: le premier composé d'une rivière, de lotus épanouis, larges feuilles, grues, canards et libellule, le second représentant un large prunus en fleur, des bambous et deux phénix, le troisième orné de branchages de pivoines, de deux oiseaux mauves perchés et rehaussé d'un goulet en bronze doré, le quatrième à décor de grenadier, cailles, hirondelles et sauterelle, la glacière agrémentée de deux frises horizontales en relief, ornées de rinceaux et fleurs dorés sur fond vert, deux des côtés rehaussés de poignées en bronze doré, le couvercle formé de deux parties, l'une d'elles comprenant deux sapèques ajourées laissant passer l'air frais, le décor composé d'un large cerisier en fleur, d'une colline plantée de pivoines et lingzhi et de pies volant dans le ciel, posées sur un rocher ou sur les branches tortueuses de l'arbre, socle en bois ; petit choc et éclats
    Dimensions: 39 x 68,6 x 69,2 cm. (27 x 27¼ x 15 3/8 in.)


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    Large ice chests of this type were used in the Palace during the hot summer months. They were filled with ice and placed in certain rooms used by the Imperial family. The ice was used to cool drinks, fruit and sweet snacks, as well as cooling the surrounding area and somewhat alleviating the oppressive heat of Beijing, which the Manchu emperors found so uncomfortable. While usually placed on stands, like the current example, these chests were sometimes placed directly on the floor beneath tables to cool both the food and those seated at the table. In winter ice blocks were cut from the Inner Golden River and were stored in the five ice vaults in the Forbidden City near the Gate of the Great Ancestors. These ice vaults could hold about 20,000 blocks of ice. During the period from the first day of the fifth month to the twentieth day of the seventh month specific members of the Imperial Household Department received an allocation of two blocks of ice per day. Surviving records indicate that originally the ice chests were made of wood, and usually lined with lead, like the example in the Victoria and Albert Museum illustrated by C. Clunas in Chinese Furniture, London 1997, p.99, no.89, or lined with zinc as in the case of the example in the Musée Guimet illustrated by M. Beurdeley, Chinese Furniture, Tokyo 1979, p.95, no.130. However, by the 18th century, ice chests destined for the apartments of the empress and dowager empress are recorded as being made of plain bronze with pewter linings. It has been suggested that fine cloisonné enamel ice chests like the current example would have been intended for the emperor's apartments.

    One of a pair of cloisonné enamel ice chests in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing is illustrated in Metal-bodied Enamel Ware - The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong 2002, p.134, no.129. The Beijing ice chests, which bear a six-character Qianlong mark (AD 1736 - 95), share with the current example the three horizontal divisions and two handles at each end. Both chests also have hinged lids and two coin-shaped piercings on one half of the lid. The double handles at either end of the current ice chest and the Beijing Palace example would have been necessary in order for the vessel to be carried, since it would have been extremely heavy when full of ice.

    See another impressive imperial cloisonné square ice chest, Qianlong period, from the Love Collection, sold in our New York Rooms, 20 October 2004, lot 601. This latter was decorated all over with a dense pattern of butterflies and insects amidst various flowers.
    Another imperial cloisonné ice chest from Qianlong reign, decorated with shou characters was sold in our Hong Kong Rooms, 29 april 2001, lot 578.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT payable at 19.6% (5.5% for books) will be added to the buyer’s premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis


    Provenance

    Sotheby's New York, 16-17 March 1984, lot 106.
    Bluett & Sons Ltd., London, 20 March 1984.


    Post Lot Text

    A RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL GILT-BRONZE AND CLOISONNE ENAMEL SQUARE ICE CHEST
    CHINA, QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)