Yellow jade was much treasured by the Qianlong emperor, whose imperial jade collection surpassed that of any of his predecessors in quality. The Qianlong emperor's contribution to the improvement of jade crafting techniques and his connoisseurship of jades were notable, whereby he insisted on examining every piece of jade and recorded his opinion in the form of poems to be published or inscribed on the jades (Yang Boda, 'Jade: Emperor Ch'ien Lung's Collection in the Palace Museum, Peking', Arts of Asia, March-April 1992, p. 82.)
The style of carving of the dragons found on the present piece is also consistent with imperial taste. The qilong was especially popular during the Qianlong period when it was frequently used for decorating works of art. Compare a similar small yellow vase carved with clambering qilong, illustrated in Roger Keverne (ed.), Jade, London, 1995, fig. 55, p. 151; and a similar vase that was included in the National Museum of History, Taiwan, exhibition Jade: Ch’ing Dynasty Treasures, Taipei, 1997, no. 123. See also one formerly in the collection of Mary and George Bloch, which was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 73 (see Fig. 1).
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