3439
3439
A RARE GILT-BRONZE 'MYTHICAL BEAST' WATERDROPPER
MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE
Estimate
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
3439
A RARE GILT-BRONZE 'MYTHICAL BEAST' WATERDROPPER
MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE
Estimate
700,000900,000
LOT SOLD. 875,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Gems of Chinese Art – The Speelman Collection II

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Hong Kong

A RARE GILT-BRONZE 'MYTHICAL BEAST' WATERDROPPER
MARK AND PERIOD OF XUANDE
skilfully cast in the form of a recumbent mythical beast with a gently upturned head, portrayed ferocious with piercing eyes set with glass paste above a prominent snout, the body masterfully rendered with powerful claws and muscular limbs, the sides emblazoned with flame-like hair, the hollow body set with a small circular opening on the back encircled with a section of its bifurcated tail, the mouth with a further small aperture flanked by its fangs, the underside with a four-character reign mark within a curved recessed rectangular panel
11.6 cm, 4 1/2  in.
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Catalogue Note

While a small group of gilt-bronze scholar’s objects from the Xuande period exists, the quality of the casting, boldness of the detailing and brilliance of the gilding distinguishes this embellished waterdropper from its peers. The Xuande reign mark on this gilt-bronze waterdropper is superbly articulated. It is clearly an independently conceived piece, produced as a unique example or as a small number for the Xuande court.

In terms of form, it is closely related to its jade counterparts; see a waterdropper in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, worked in the form of a beast with similar crouching posture and muscular body as the current piece, attributed to the 16th century and included in Ming Wilson, Chinese Jades, London, 2004, no. 65 (museum no. C.144-1913).

The museum also has an early Ming dynasty bronze paperweight modelled as a beast with comparable proud, alert facial features, partially gilt and inlaid with semi-precious stones, illustrated in Rose Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, London, 1990, p. 88, pl. 72 (Salting Bequest, museum no. M.741-1910). See also a Yuan to early Ming dynasty gilt-bronze and hardstone-inlaid paperweight in the form of two young mythical beasts depicted in confrontation, sold in these rooms, 31st October 2004, lot 14, which is closely related to the current piece in terms of the bold and naturalistic articulation of the muscular body and fur, through varying layers of relief. See also a Xuande reign-marked paperweight from the Xiaogushan Guan studio collection, in the form of a crouching beast with similar curly mane, included in Rochers de lettrés, Itinéraires de l'Art en Chine, Musée des Arts Asiatiques Guimet, Paris, 2012, cat. no. 58, and a gilt-bronze incense burner and cover in the form of a xiezhi mythical beast, sold in these rooms, 8th April 2014, lot 233, from the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat collection.

Gems of Chinese Art – The Speelman Collection II

|
Hong Kong