116
116
A LARGE AND EXCEPTIONAL WHITE JADE ARCHAISTIC ‘DUCK’ WATERPOT AND COVER
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
JUMP TO LOT
116
A LARGE AND EXCEPTIONAL WHITE JADE ARCHAISTIC ‘DUCK’ WATERPOT AND COVER
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art from the Collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee

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Hong Kong

A LARGE AND EXCEPTIONAL WHITE JADE ARCHAISTIC ‘DUCK’ WATERPOT AND COVER
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
the recumbent bird with its webbed feet tucked underneath its body, its head leaning gently backwards and finely detailed with archaistic square scrolls, the curved neck collared by a band of florets, its wings folded on either side of its body and further decorated with feathers and archaistic scrolls in relief, all surmounted by a tall finial in the form of a duckling standing with its head held upwards, the stone of a pale celadon tone with russet veining
16.5 cm, 6 1/2  in.
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Provenance

Collection of Percy D. Krolik.
Sotheby's London, 24th February 1970, lot 115.
Spink & Son, London.
Sotheby's London, 14th March 1972, lot 37.

Catalogue Note

Proudly propagating himself as a great patron of scholarship and the arts, the Qianlong Emperor unceasingly took inspiration from antiquity to suit his eclectic taste for grandeur and sumptuousness. This duck-form waterpot of substantial size successfully combines the Qianlong Emperor’s passion for jade, infatuation with archaism and enthusiasm in calligraphy into an opulent utilitarian vessel destined for the scholar’s desk.

Goose or duck-form waterpots were popular in the 18th century, possibly due to their symbolic association with the Qianlong Emperor’s most admired calligrapher, Wang Xizhi. The essence of this duck-form waterpot probably took its reference from archaic bronzes and pottery, however, its characteristic anatomic representation depicting the bird gently leaning backwards against its body may have been inspired by jades from the Tang and Song dynasties. These references to antecedent sources boast the Emperor’s erudite knowledge and sound awareness of the arts and culture from preceding dynasties. Furthermore, the cover is cleverly worked in the form of a duckling; the portrayal of a tender image of mother and young is symbolic of a continuous succession of knowledge.

Although waterpots modelled in comparable forms exist, vessels created to such large scale are rare. A closely related yellow jade waterpot of this form from the Gerald Godfrey collection, with the bird’s face similarly rendered with a facetted beak and square scrolls, and wings decorated with archaistic motifs and neat feathers, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30th October 1995, lot 834; a further example of similar form but smaller in size, was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8th April 2014, lot 3070. Compare also a Qianlong white jade waterdropper in the form of a recumbent phoenix with homogeneous features to the present lot, and a cover worked in the form of a coiled dragon, included in the exhibition Virtuous Treasures. Chinese Jades for the Scholar’s Table, University Museum and Art Gallery, Hong Kong, 2007, no. 59.

Important Chinese Art from the Collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee

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Hong Kong