119
119
A SPINACH-GREEN JADE 'TWIN FISH' MARRIAGE BOWL
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
Estimate
700,000900,000
JUMP TO LOT
119
A SPINACH-GREEN JADE 'TWIN FISH' MARRIAGE BOWL
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
Estimate
700,000900,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Ceramics and Jades from the Collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee

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Hong Kong

A SPINACH-GREEN JADE 'TWIN FISH' MARRIAGE BOWL
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
the deep rounded sides rising from a short foot to an everted rim, flanked by a pair of bat handles suspending loose rings, each bat with wings outstretched and incised with archaistic scrolls, the exterior worked in low relief with an undulating lotus scroll, the interior with a pair of confronting fish clasping in their mouths a stylised lotus spray, the stone of a variegated olive-green tone with black flecks
23.5 cm, 9 1/4  in.
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Catalogue Note

This bowl was fashioned from a spinach-green jade boulder of striking translucency and depth of colour, skilfully enhanced by the low-relief carving of two fish. The natural variegated hues of the stone were cleverly incorporated into the design, thus make the fish appear as if swimming in deep waters. Jade bowls of such generous proportions were popular in the Qianlong period, and the production of such vessels was only possibly following the Qing army’s conquest of the jade-rich Tianshan region, in modern Xinjiang province. Prior to the conquest, jade came in relatively small quantity to the capital, but thereafter large quantities of high-quality jade boulders became available. 

Bowls of this form and carved with this motif are unusual; compare a slightly larger spinach-green jade bowl with rounded sides and carved with fish on the interior, from the collection of Heber R. Bishop, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession no.  0218.689; one with animal-head handles, sold in our London rooms, 25th July 1950, lot 199; and a much larger example from the collections of T.B. Kitson, S. Bulgari and Enrico di Portanova, sold twice in our London rooms in 1956 and 1961, and again at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27th May 2008, lot 1604.

While bowls of this type are referred to in China as washers, they are popularly known in the West as ‘marriage bowls’ on account of their auspicious imagery, which often alludes to felicitous wishes for a long and happy married life. In the case of the present piece, fish are symbolic of connubial happiness as fish are believed to swim in pairs. Twin dish (shuangyu) are also homophonous with the wish shuanyu jiqing (May you be blessed with connubial bliss, fecundity and an abundance of good luck). Furthermore, the handles on this piece are carved with two bats (shuangfu) to indicate double blessings, and resemble two butterflies when viewed from the top to represent a joyful encounter and hence marital bliss. 

Ceramics and Jades from the Collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee

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Hong Kong