This charming rhyton embodies the Qing imperial taste for archaism and miniatures. While large vessels were striking for their size and embodiment of the splendour of the Qing dynasty, the beauty of the miniature lies in the extraordinary level of craftsmanship. Jade vessels of rhyton form have been recorded since antiquity, such as one excavated from the tomb of the King of Nanyue, dating to circa 122 BC, illustrated in Peter Lam, Jades from the Tomb of the King of Nanyue, Hong Kong, 1991, pl. D44. The style of the present piece follows in the tradition developed from the Song dynasty, with the vessel emerging from a monster head base and a tail-shaped handle; see a larger caramel-brown jade rhyton attributed to the Song dynasty, from the Cunliffe collection, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition The Arts of the Sung Dynasty, London, 1960, sold at Bonhams London, 11th November 2002, lot 1, and again in these rooms, 9th October 2012, lot 3137; a celadon and russet jade version, attributed to the Ming dynasty, sold in our London rooms, 9th November 1954, lot 118, and possibly the same piece sold twice in these rooms, 21st May 1985, lot 303, and 8th April 2007, lot 820; and another of light brown tone, with additional chilong carved in high-relief, sold in our New York rooms, 23rd September 1995, lot 232.