A superb white jade 'pine' flower receptacle, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period | 清乾隆 白玉松樹樁花插
Property from the De An Tang Collection
A superb white jade 'pine' flower receptacle
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period
The vessel is in excellent condition. There is a tiny shallow nibble to the edge of the base.
"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."
A Romance with Jade: From the De An Tang Collection, Yongshougong, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. no. 9.
Carved from a lustrous white jade stone with attractive russet highlights, the present flower receptacle is naturalistically rendered in the form of a pine tree trunk, detailed with heaps of pine needles and networks of gnarled branches skillfully carved in varying levels of relief. The beauty of the stone, together with the intricate carving, imbues the piece with energy and life. It is truly a masterpiece and a testimony to the pursuit of harmonious beauty and technical virtuosity in jade carvings during the Qianlong period.
Pine has always been a popular subject matter in Chinese art and literature. It is known to survive and grow well upon frost and drought, making it an apt metaphor for the literati's perseverance and unswerving loyalty. The present receptacle serves as a fitting decoration placed on a scholar's desk, to give inspiration and pleasure while its owner contemplates aspects of life and virtues.
Confucius says, 'superior men found the likeness of all excellent qualities in jade'. The beauty of jade has been appreciated and revered in China for thousands of years. It was highly praised by Xu Shen in the Han dynasty dictionary Shuowen Jiezi ('Discussing Writing and Analysing Characters'): 'jade, the beauty among all stones, is endowed with five virtues: charity typified by its lustre, bright yet warm; rectitude by its translucency, revealing the colour and markings within; wisdom by the purity and penetrating quality of its note when the stone is struck; courage, in that it may be broken but never bent; equity, in that it has sharp angles which yet injure none.’ The endowment of jade with five virtues attests to the literati's adoration toward the stone and their aspiration to attain such qualities.