27 November 2007
A FINE AND RARE SPINACH-GREEN JADE CIRCULAR TABLE SCREEN
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)
The circular panel deeply carved on one side with a procession scene of foreign emissaries along a winding mountain path, variously carrying exotic gifts and engaged in other festive activities including one bearer holding a banner inscribed with the characters, Wanguo Laichao, 'Tributes from ten thousand nations', whilst others are pushing a cart, playing a drum, and riding on the back of an elephant, all moving to a homestead in the far distance, the reverse side is carved in shallow relief with ornamental rocks amidst an aged pine and bamboo; accompanied with a separately carved spinach-green jade stand, ornately designed in openwork with leafy peony on a quatrefoil-shaped platform base
12 1/4 in. (31 cm.) overall height
Major R.F.D. Minett, R.A.M.C.
Captain Arnold Newcomb
Sotheby's London, 25 February 1975, lot 24
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Robert Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, no.120
Christie's New York, March 13-26, 2001
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 2003 - December 2004
The design of the present screen is extremely well rendered with an effective use of the varying depths created by the carving. The main attraction of the elephant is seen in the foreground with peripheral figures moving away from the commotion in the mid and far distance providing a lively festive scene of celebration. The subject-matter as indicated by the four characters Wanguo Laichao, 'Tributes from ten thousands nations', is an archaic reference to a tradition of receiving foreign dignitaries during the first fifteen days of the lunar New Year as recorded by the historian, Sima Qian (died c. 90BC).
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