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A VERY RARE GARNET-EMBELLISHED MASSAGER
A VERY RARE GARNET-EMBELLISHED MASSAGER

Details
A VERY RARE GARNET-EMBELLISHED MASSAGER
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

The handle decorated with rose-cut pavé garnets, inset with six main rows of garnets in varying sizes arranged longitudinal to the length of the handle, evenly divided by three rows of smaller stones, the terminal of the handle with a six-petal flower blossom within a star setting, the handle is attached to a looped gilt-bronze prong terminating with a pair of dragon heads, confronting three revolving beads, carved of sodalite, rock-crystal and carnelian agate respectively, joined together forming the massage head
8 1/2 in. (21.5 cm.) long

Lot Essay

For other examples of massagers with jade handles, cf. Jadeware, III, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 192; and an example from the Hartman collection, sold in these Rooms, 28 November 2006, lot 1456, illustrated by R. Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 159.

The present massager probably originated as a staff or parasol handle set by jewellers in Europe and then sent as tribute to China, during the second half of the 18th century, where the handle had been re-set as a massager which was obviously a popular accessory used for health and healing purposes in the Qing court. For three examples, see Qingdai gongting shenghuo, 'Daily Life in the Qing Court', Hong Kong, 2006, pl. 294; with massage heads formed of agate, coral and aventurine.

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