Lot 103
  • 103


2,000,000 - 3,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • 17.9 cm, 7 in.
superbly worked with a tapered body rising from a short foot to a waisted neck and flared mouth-rim, the translucent stone of an even white colour with tiny russet patches to the foot, wood stand


Sotheby's Hong Kong, 30th November 1980, lot 542 and cover.


Ip Yee, Chinese Jade Carving, Min Chiu Society, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1983, cat. no. 222.


Sotheby's Hong Kong – Twenty Years, 1973-1993, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 506.

Catalogue Note

This seemingly undecorated zhadou is an understated example of the amalgamation of the technical craftsmanship, quality of resources and reverence of antiquity at the imperial court in China in the 18th century. The form of the vessel derives from ceramic spittoon vessels, which started being produced in the Tang dynasty, and the use of a translucent white boulder was very likely a deliberate choice to emulate the white ceramic zhadou of the Tang dynasty, such as one of similar size from the Eumorfopoulos collection, now in the British Museum, London, published on the Museum’s website, no. 1940,0413.79.

The current zhadou is also extremely rare in its large size and even translucency. The craftsman, through a seemingly plain yet superbly polished surface, was able to showcase fully the exceptional quality of the boulder without hiding original flaws in the stone with carved designs. Whilst other 18th-century zhadou are known, the current vessel appears to be the largest of the recorded examples. For smaller examples, see one sold in these rooms, 8th October 2014, lot 3738; another, sold in our London rooms, 29th June 1976, lot 60, from the collection of F.W. Tingle; and a third sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 28th May 2014, lot 3565.

White jade zhadou of the Qing dynasty were also decorated on the exterior. For two examples in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see an early Qing vessel decorated on the exterior with three dragon medallions and one with a Jiaqing yuyong mark, worked with archaistic kui dragons, published in Jadeware (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1995, cat. nos 194 and 195. See also a lobed example displayed in a duobaoge, a shelf used to store curios for the emperor in the Forbidden City, illustrated in Wan Yi, et. al., Life in the Forbidden City of Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2009, no. 217.