The present bowl is exceptional both with regard to the purity of the stone as well as the quality of the polish. Plain, elegant vessels were created to highlight the superiority of the material, and although this piece is unmarked, the quality of the stone, the shape and fine finish are characteristic of late-Qianlong marked examples, which indicate that it would have been produced for the Qing court. A slightly smaller pair of bowls of this form, in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, London, 1995, pl. 29:13; another example carved from a celadon stone, in the B.S. McElney collection, was included in the exhibition Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, Asia House Gallery, New York, 1980, cat. no. 152; and a pair of bowls was sold in these rooms, 19th April 2006, lot 1763.
Undecorated and finely polished jade vessels in traditional porcelain forms represent the epitome of high-quality dining utensils during the Qing period. According to Jessica Rawson, op. cit., p. 400, the high value placed upon and use of jade bowls and cups for eating and drinking is evidenced by the sumptuary laws which restricted the use of jade vessels and in novels that mention the use of such bowls and cups for dining.
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