A GILT AND IRON-RED DECORATED BLUE AND WHITE SEAL PASTE BOX AND COVER
A GILT AND IRON-RED DECORATED BLUE AND WHITE SEAL PASTE BOX AND COVER
A GILT AND IRON-RED DECORATED BLUE AND WHITE SEAL PASTE BOX AND COVER
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DRAGONS FROM THE EMPIRE - IMPERIAL CERAMICS FROM THE YIDETANG COLLECTION
A GILT AND IRON-RED DECORATED BLUE AND WHITE SEAL PASTE BOX AND COVER

MAOQIN DIAN MARK IN GILT AND IRON RED, JIAQING SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1796-1820)

Details
A GILT AND IRON-RED DECORATED BLUE AND WHITE SEAL PASTE BOX AND COVER
MAOQIN DIAN MARK IN GILT AND IRON RED, JIAQING SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1796-1820)
The domed cover is finely painted with a pair of three-clawed dragons in gilt and outlined in iron red with flames rising from their haunches as they circle a rectangular cartouche enclosing the characters Maoqin Dian (Hall of Merit and Diligence) in seal script, all reserved against a ground of pencilled pale underglaze-blue clouds. The box is similarly decorated with a pair of dragons.
9 in. (23 cm.) diam., box
Provenance
J.M. Hu Collection
Sold at Sotheby’s New York, 15 September 1999, lot 91

Brought to you by

Marco Almeida (安偉達)
Marco Almeida (安偉達) SVP, Senior International Specialist, Head of Department

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Lot Essay

The cover of the present seal paste box is inscribed with the mark Maoqin Dian (Hall of Merit and Diligence), which is the name of a hall within the Qianqing Palace in the Forbidden City constructed in the 14th year of the Jiajing period (1535). Maoqin Dian was one of the Emperor’s main study during the Qianlong and Jiaqing periods, where they read palace memorials and appreciated calligraphy and paintings. Thus, many of the Imperial seals were kept at Maoqin Dian for direct access. The three-clawed dragons on the present box suggest that it was made during the first four years of the Jiaqing period when his father, the Emperor Qianlong, reigned as the Emperor Emeritus.

Six other seal paste boxes and covers of this type are known. One is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, which still has traces of cinnabar seal paste inside the box, included in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Small Refined Articles of the Study, Hong Kong, 2009, no. 288 (fig. 1); one sold at Sotheby’s New York, 23 October, 1976, lot 322, then sold at Poly Beijing, 6 December 2011, lot 4983; one sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 13 December 1977, lot 539; one sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8 November 1982, lot 163; one sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 13 January 1987, lot 519; one from the collection of Abigail Adams, sold at Christie’s New York, 29 March 2006, lot 445, now in the Studio of Measure, exhibited in No Doubts, Christie’s Shanghai, 2014, see Catalogue no. 35; and the pair to the present box, sold at Sotheby’s New York, 4 June, 1985, lot 77.

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