finely and deeply carved to the front face depicting Guanyin seated on a rock work pedestal, wearing loosely draped robes, an attendant standing behind her holding a vase containing a single willow branch, with a boy kneeling towards her in a position of deference, amid bamboo trees, with swelling waves crashing against the rocks below, a magpie perched above, the reverse skillfully carved utilising the natural inclusions in the stone, neatly incised to the centre with a six-column poem in kaishu, ending with the seven-character mark Qianlong Jia Shen Xia Yu Zan (appraised by the Qianlong emperor in the summer of 1764), followed by two seals, the stone of a pale celadon-white tone, with attractive warm russet inclusions on the reverse, later wood stand
Jade grottos of this unusual shape of three oval sections are rare and those carved with the figure of Guanyin are unusual. Jade carvings depicting figures in naturalistic scenery, and carved in elaborate detail were particularly popular with the Qianlong emperor who was a keen collector of jade artefacts. All jade pieces in his collection were carefully chosen or commissioned by him, hence the present piece with his inscription of appraisal would have been housed in the Palace for his enjoyment and appreciation.
See a jade Buddha figure seated within a large oval-shaped grotto, of the Qianlong period, sold in these rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 414.
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