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A RARE AND FINELY CARVED WHITE JADE MARRIAGE BOWL AND A CARVED ZITAN STAND
PROPERTY OF AN ENGLISH LADY OF TITLE
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED WHITE JADE MARRIAGE BOWL AND A CARVED ZITAN STAND

QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

Details
A RARE AND FINELY CARVED WHITE JADE MARRIAGE BOWL AND A CARVED ZITAN STAND
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)
The marriage bowl is superbly hollowed with tall, thick walls supported on four flared ruyi-form feet. The centre of the interior is exquisitely carved in high relief to depict a large open chrysanthemum flower, surrounded by six smaller chrysanthemum blooms with leafy branches. The pair of handles to the sides are finely modelled as stylised, archaistic, winged dragons with loose rings. The centre of the base is detailed with a further flower, enclosed within a network of interlocking ropes terminating in eight kui-dragon heads. The foliate zitan stand is finely carved and reticulated with archaistic scrolls, supported on six short ruyi-shaped feet. The top is covered with what appears to be imperial yellow silk.
11 in. (28 cm.) wide across the handles; the stand 9 ¼ in. (23.5 cm.) wide
Provenance
Acquired in the 1930s in China, and thence by descent within the family.

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Lot Essay

Marriage bowls were often presented to couples as wedding gifts, symbolising the joyful union of husband and wife. The finely carved decoration on this marriage bowl incorporates a multitude of auspicious meanings. The archaistic winged dragons convey a sense of strength and power, while the chrysanthemum blooms symbolise health and longevity. As a popular motif in Chinese art, it is believed that drinking wine or tea made with chrysanthemums can extend one's life. The Eastern Jin poet Tao Yuanming (372-427) is famous for eulogising the beauty of chrysanthemums in his poetry.
Apart from its magnificent decoration, the present bowl is also impressive for the sheer size and quality of its natural stone. The interior and exterior of the walls were deliberately left uncarved, skilfully highlighting the beauty of the jade.

A similar large white jade marriage bowl with winged dragon handles and ruyi-form feet was sold in Christies Hong Kong, 30 May 2012, lot 3959.
Also see another similar marriage bowl in, Li Jiufang (Palace Museum),  Zhongguo Yuqi Quanji-6 Qing, Hebei, 1991, p. 215, no. 314.

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