Sotheby's New York, 15th December 1967, lot 230.
Nagatani Ltd., Chicago.
The forty-character inscription found on the cover of this vessel is a poem by the Qianlong emperor dated to the yiwei year of his reign (equivalent to 1775 AD) with the title Yong Hetian yu kuishou yi (Song of the Hetian Jade Beast Head Basin). In the poem the emperor praises jade from Hetian which he considers to be skillfully crafted and highly desirable. He notes that the vessel was made after Zhou dynasty basins and it recaptures the essence of antiquity.
Guang are a rare shape among ancient bronze vessels and it is even rarer to find archaistic jade vessels after this form. The 18th century carver has tried to recreate the shape and despite the somewhat elongated proportions the silhouette of this guang remains fairly close to those of bronze prototypes. See a related jade guang illustrated in Pierre-F. Schneeberger, The Baur Collection. Geneva, Geneva, 1976, pl. B74-75; and another, from the National Palace Museum, Taipei (see Fig. 1), which was included in the exhibition The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, Taipei, 1997, cat.no. 13.
Compare also a jade guang with animal mask design, from the Qing Court collection, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 139; and another vessel of simpler decoration, also in the Palace Museum, Beijing, included in Zhongguo yuqi quanji, Shijiazhuang, 1993, pls. 38-39.
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