223
223
A PAIR OF IMPERIAL HARDSTONE EMBELLISHED LAPIS LAZULI CANDLESTICKS
QING DYNASTY, 18TH  CENTURY
Estimate
60,00080,000
JUMP TO LOT
223
A PAIR OF IMPERIAL HARDSTONE EMBELLISHED LAPIS LAZULI CANDLESTICKS
QING DYNASTY, 18TH  CENTURY
Estimate
60,00080,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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A PAIR OF IMPERIAL HARDSTONE EMBELLISHED LAPIS LAZULI CANDLESTICKS
QING DYNASTY, 18TH  CENTURY
each of square section, pieced together from separate pieces of lapis lazuli to form a candlestick with drip pan, column, tray and base, the decoration of stylized lotus blossoms and scrolling foliage surrounded by angular scrolls formed from carnelian, turquoise, rose quartz, tourmaline and agate inlay, the interiors of the drip pan, tray and base lined in gilt-bronze, the 'candles' made from rounded sections of carnelian encased with openwork gilt-bronze worked with the design of a five-clawed dragon amid clouds, the 'flame' made from a carnelian bead surrounded by flames to resemble a flaming pearl, wood stand (6)
Height 23 3/4  in., 60.5 cm
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Provenance

American Art Galleries, The Prince Kung Collection, New York,  27th February - 1st March 1913, lot 198 (part).

Catalogue Note

Traditionally symbolic of purity and rarity, lapis lazuli appears to have been named qing jin shi (blue gold stone) during the Qing dynasty. The aura of mystery that surrounded this stone may have been due to the virtually inaccessible location of its principle mines in the remote Badakshan region of northeast Afghanistan behind the Hindu Kush. According to Ming Wilson in ‘The Colour of Stones’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 62, 1997-98, p. 34, there are no known records identifying this stone before the Qing period although beads attributed to the Western Han period have been excavated. Its natural smoothness allowed it to be polished to a high degree which highlighted the brilliance of its blue color and contrasting natural inclusions. Carvings fashioned from lapis lazuli are relatively uncommon and were reserved for the imperial court.

A three-piece garniture similarly inlaid with semi-precious stones, possibly the original set to these candlesticks, was sold in these rooms, 17th April 1985, lot 254. Further examples of embellished lapis lazuli carvings include a pair of elephants, two stupas and a figure of Buddha, all from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Treasures of Imperial Court, Hong Kong, 2004, pls. 25, 176-177 and 182.

In their form and decoration, the present candlesticks are reminiscent of those made from cloisonné enamel; see a pair sold at Christie’s New York, 17th September 2008.

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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New York