PROPERTY FROM AN ASIAN PRIVATE COLLECTION
AN INSCRIBED PALE CELADON JADE 'LUOHAN' BOULDER
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
deeply carved to the front with a luohan seated in a meditative position on a ledge within a deep grotto with his shoes placed on a flat rock before him, framed by gnarled tree trunks and jagged rockwork, with a small bridge traversing a rushing stream amidst the rocks, a rock-face towering above incised with an excerpt from a prose by Qianlong describing said luohan, the reverse decorated with trees and further vegetation, the polished stone a pale celadon tone with mottled russet patches
Length 24.5 cm, 9⅝ in.
The pine tree on the right of the reverse possibly has a chip to one stem hidden under the leaves. There is also expected wear to the gilt decoration of the inscription. The actual colour is of a more pale celadon tone than the catalogue illustration.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This boulder is boldly carved deep relief with Vanavasin, one of the sixteen luohan. A Buddhist monk, whose name in Sanskrit means ‘rain’, Vanavasin is said to have reached enlightenment under a plantain tree. In the 18th century depictions of luohan, close disciples of the Historical Buddha Shakyamuni, were very popular. Their distinctive iconography, each with exaggerated, almost grotesque features, originated with an influential rendition of each luohan by the famous late Tang (618-907) and Five Dynasties (907-960) monk and painter Guanxiu (823-912), who saw them appear this way in a dream. The Qianlong emperor, who saw these paintings during a tour to southern China, composed eulogies to each luohan.
Two jade boulders similarly carved with a luohan in a grotto, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, were included in the museum’s exhibition Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, Taipei, 1997, cat. nos. 39 and 43; another from the De An Tang collection was included in the exhibition A Romance with Jade. From the De An Tang Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. no. 33; two were sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 27th April 2003, lot 33, and 25th April 2004, lot 98; and another was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1st May 1995, lot 801. See also a slightly smaller boulder with Panthaka, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2011, lot 2835.