After 1760, the tribute jade system from Xinjiang and Hetian increased the supply of jades to the court, and sufficient jade material laid the foundation for the flourishing of Qianlong jade workmanship. Under these circumstances, the creation of Qing jade washers reached an unprecedented height. There are more than 600 Qing jade washers preserved in the Beijing Palace Museum collection. Due to the complexity of creating a jade washer and the ever-changing materials, none of the existing jade washers are the same. They all have their own unique style and different shape. The pieces are vivid, exquisite and artistic, far exceeding their mere utilitarian function. The current white jade washer, of lobed form and completely plain, encapsulated an elegance and minimalism contrasting with some of the jades of the period which veered towards over decoration, to the disapproval of the Qianlong Emperor. Compare the closely related treatment of the lobed form on a jade washer, included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935, cat. no. 2865. See also a smaller white jade washer of similar lobed form, but flanked by boys handles, sold in our London rooms, 11th May 2016, lot 157, from the Fleischer collection.
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