A RARE WHITE JADE-INSET GILT-SILVER 'DRAGON AND PHOENIX' EWER AND COVER QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY |
2,500,000 - 3,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed
- l. 25.1 cm, 9 7/8 in.
modelled with a circular body of flattened form, supported on a splayed foot and surmounted by a tapering neck and galleried mouth-rim, flanked by a handle modelled in the form of a dragon's head at the top and ending with an upturned tail, opposite a spout cast as a phoenix with its beak forming the aperture and plumage elaborately rendered in scrollwork, each main side of the vessel inset with a convex oval white jade panel, one side worked in low relief with two large peaches borne on gnarled leafy branches and further rendered with two bats, the other similarly rendered with a partially concealed bat and a floral bloom issuing from a stem, the base with an apocryphal four-character Qianlong reign mark, the oval cover similarly inset with a pierced white jade panel adorned with a pair of kui dragons, encircling a gilt finial cast covered with petal motifs
This unusual ewer is rare for the jade plaques inset in a metal body. While the opulence of the piece is firmly representative of the Qing period, its flattened form is rooted in archaic bronze ewers (he) of the Eastern Zhou period (770-256 BC). These bronze prototypes were often cast with zoomorphic features, surmounted on four legs, such as one on the Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Warwickshire, coll. no. CVCSV 0230.1-2A; and another sold at Christie’s London, 10th November 2015, lot 24. Globular tripod ewers with bird-shaped spouts and overhead handles were also produced; see one attributed to the Warring States period (475-221 BC), published in Jenny So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. III, New York, 1995, pl. 84. Ewers of this type continued to be created through to the Qing dynasty in various media; for example see a qingbai version with a stylised dragon spout, attributed to the Southern Song dynasty, excavated in 1976 at Changyi, Xinjian county, now in the Jiangxi Museum, Jiangxi, illustrated in Zhongguo chutu ciqi quanji/Complete Collection of Ceramic Art Unearthed in China, Beijing, 2008, vol. 14, pl. 78; and a Yuan blue and white flask with a phoenix head spout, the body painted on the flattened circular body, illustrated in Yuan dai qinghua ci [Yuan blue and white wares], Shanghai, 2000, pl. 66. Compare also two gold-embellished silver teapots of globular form, the handle in the form of a dragon and the spout issuing from the head of a mythical creature, one from the Palace Museum, Beijing, included in Zhongguo jin yin boli falangqi quanji [The complete collection of Chinese gold, silver, glass and enamelled wares], Shijiazhuang, 2004, pl. 344, and the other in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the Museum’s exhibition The Far-Reaching Fragrance of Tea. The Art and Culture of Tea in Asia, Taipei, 2015, cat. no. I-77.