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Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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New York

AN IMPERIAL SPINACH JADE 'XIANFU GONG' SEAL
QING DYNASTY, JIAQING PERIOD
the plain high rectangular base surmounted by a deftly carved and pierced knop in the form of a ferocious five-clawed dragon in pursuit of a 'flaming pearl', its undulating body with finely incised scales meandering within dense cloud scrolls to display great vigor and power, its head carved with bulging eyes and flared nostrils above its open mouth revealing a curled tongue between sharp fangs, the seal face deeply and crisply carved vertically in seal script with three raised characters Xianfu Gong (Xianfu Palace), all enclosed within a single-line border, the stone of a dark green tone with natural inclusions and areas of darker speckling
Length 2 1/8 in., 5.5 cm, Width 1 3/8 in., 3.6 cm
Zustandsbericht lesen Zustandsbericht lesen

Katalognotizen

The present lot is one seal from a set of three.  The first seal in such sets, carved with the name of a building, would be impressed at the beginning of a work, and the other two, with phrases either elaborating on or giving the significance of that name, would be impressed at the end. Such sets are called Gong Dian Zu (Palace and Hall sets).  The present lot bears the name of the Xianfu Gong (Palace of Complete Happiness). The Xianfu Gong is one of six palaces in the northwestern corner of the Forbidden City. 

When Qianlong passed away in 1799, his successor to the throne, the Jiaqing emperor, first moved to the Shang Shufang (Prince's Study) to observe the mourning period. After twenty days, Jiaqing moved to the Xianfu Gong where he stayed for ten months. During that time, it was where he met court officials and conducted government business. 

The present lot matches an impression in the Jiaqing bao sou (Jiaqing Treasures: A Catalogue of Impressions of the Jiaqing Emperor's Seals).  According to that catalogue, the two other seals in that set were inscribed Hui qi you ji (Maintain One's Standards) and Xu yi shou ren (Encounter Others with an Open Mind). The seal reading Hui qi you ji was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 5th October 2011, lot 1910.

An English translation of the essay by Guo Fuxiang is available from the Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Department upon request.

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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New York