Lot 2
  • 2


20,000 - 30,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Length 6 3/4  in., 17.2 cm
of elegant S-form, the scoop well-hollowed and with a flat base, the tip of the curved handle forming a dragon head grasping a pearl in the mouth, horns flattened against the neck, a long tuft of fur streaming behind, the underside of the handle incised with a vertical four-character mark, the stone a pale celadon-white with icy flecks, wood stand (2)


European Private Collection, acquired circa 1900.
Roger Keverne Ltd., London, 7th January 1999.
Collection of Florence (1920-2018) and Herbert (1917-2016) Irving, no. 352.

Catalogue Note

Exceptionally rare, the present jade spoon belongs to a group of imperial undecorated white jade eating and drinking vessels made for the Jiaqing court that all share a similar four-character mark. Examples of objects belonging to this group include a pair of saucer dishes illustrated in The Woolf Collection of Chinese Jade, London, 2013, pl. 5, a pair of bowls from the collection of Sir Joseph Hotung, published in Jessica Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, London, 1995, pl. 29:13, a white jade cup sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2010, lot 2863, a dish sold in the same rooms, 8th April 2013, lot 3112, and a cup and stand sold at Christie's New York, 19th September 2006, lot 25. Rawson notes that sumptuary laws and passages in novels discuss the use of jade cups and bowls for eating and drinking, and that undecorated jade vessels probably represented the highest quality of such utensils, op. cit., p. 400.

Compare a Qing dynasty unmarked white jade spoon with a very similar shape and handle, but carved with a 'double happiness' character to the scoop, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Jade, Beijing, 2010, pl. 119. Another carved with a dragon in profile 'biting' onto the short straight handle is published in ibid., pl. 118, and a further example with a flatter and wider scoop, with the handle terminating in a ruyi head, is shown in ibid., pl. 121.

A white jade teapot and cover attributed to the Qianlong/Jiaqing period, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30th November 2011, lot 3028, has a handle carved as a dragon head latched onto the vessel, stylistically similar to the handle of this spoon in their facial features and expressions. Compare also a Qianlong fanggu mark and period white jade water vessel and spoon sold in our London rooms, 20th June 2001, lot 110, and again in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2009, lot 1804: aside from a slight variation in the tip of the handles, the spoon has almost an identical profile to the present spoon.

This spoon, along with the aforementioned group of white jade utensils, may also be associated with the famous Jiaqing mark and period ram-head ewer in the Woolf Collection, op. cit., pl. 59, and its pair in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Yang Boda, Zhongguo Meishu Quanji. Gongyi meishu bian. Yuqi [Complete series on Chinese Art. Arts and Crafts Section: Jade], vol. 9, Beijing, 1991, pl. 331.