3207
3207

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

A RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL OVERLAY GLASS 'CHILONG' SQUARE SEALS
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
JUMP TO LOT
3207

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION

A RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL OVERLAY GLASS 'CHILONG' SQUARE SEALS
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Qianlong – Scholar and Calligrapher

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Hong Kong

A RARE PAIR OF IMPERIAL OVERLAY GLASS 'CHILONG' SQUARE SEALS
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
each of square section with canted shoulders, carved from semi-translucent white glass and realgar-imitation glass overlay of a mottled orange-brown colour, finely carved with three dynamic chilong of different sizes with long bifurcated tails clambering up the shoulder of the seal, the largest chilong resting its head on the squared top, one seal face carved with a four-character inscription reading Su Qinwang bao (Treasure of Prince Su), the other with a four-character inscription reading zhi jie jin du ('to spend in moderation, to act according to regulations'), stands
6 cm, 2 3/8 in.
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Provenance

Christie's New York, 3rd December 1992, lot 13.
The Jingguantang collection.
Christie's New York, 18th September 1997, lot 111.

Catalogue Note

The present pair of ’realgar’ overlay white glass seals, simulating translucent jade with a russet skin, is skilfully modelled with chilong not dissimilar to those on imperial seals reserved for the emperor. It was probably made for a royal family member who regained his noble designation in the late Qianlong period.

The inscription on one of the seals reads Su Qinwang bao (Treasure of Prince Su), referring to a title granted first to Haoge (1609-1648), a member of the imperial family and grandson of Nurhaci, founder of the Qing dynasty. Having distinguished himself through military exploits, Haoge was bestowed with this princely title with the designation Su in 1636 and appointed to one of 'The Eight Banners', before he was accused of mendacity. This resulted in his demotion, which was only revoked posthumously. Although the rank was handed down to Haoge's descendants, the designation Su was replaced by Xian until the 43rd year of the Qianlong year (1778), when the posthumous title Su was given to Haoge's descendants and inherited by Yongsi (d. 1821). The inscription zhijie jindu ('to spend in moderation, to act according to regulations') on the other seal is an excerpt from the Confucius classic Xiaojing [Classic of family reverence or classic of filial piety], which states that (translated by Henry Rosemont, Jr. and Roger T. Ames, The Chinese Classic of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation of the Xiaojing, Honolulu, 2009, ch. 3: The Hereditary Lords, p. 106):

When the hereditary lords are not arrogant, though of lofty status they are not in jeopardy of being toppled. When they are frugal and impeccable in their conduct, though sufficient in their resources they are not extravagant.

The present pair of seals was possibly made not only to celebrate the reclamation of the designation, but also to serve as a reminder of virtue appropriate to a prince.

The design of the three-chilong finial on the present pair is closely related to that of Ziqiang buxi ('Never stop improving') and Bazheng maonian zhi bao ('Treasure of concern over phenomenon at eighty'), kept together in a box with the seal Mo yun shi ('Studio of inky clouds') and illustrated in Lasting Impressions: Seals from the Museum Collection, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2007, p. 72 (see also the essay for lot 3205, fig. 4).

Qianlong – Scholar and Calligrapher

|
Hong Kong