This table screen and its pair are also remarkable on account of their detailed depictions of a city, possibly showing two different views of West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, the capital city of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). The pair to this piece appears to depict Solitary Mountain (Gushan), an island in the West Lake connected to land through a series of bridges, while the present example may depict the tall Leifeng pagoda in the distance, and the Jingci temple at the foot of Nanping Hill. To this day, Hangzhou is renowned for its beautiful scenery, magnificent buildings and numerous bridges, and the tradition of sightseeing in Hangzhou can be traced back at least to the Tang dynasty (618-907). From the Song period through to the Qing dynasty, Hangzhou continued to attract numerous visitors, including the Qianlong Emperor, who visited the city during his Southern Inspection Tours. On the handscroll The Ten Views of West Lake, which was painted by Dong Bongda (1699-1769) before the Emperor's first southern inspection tour in 1751, a poem composed by the Emperor the year before captures his eagerness to travel there (Travelling with Art. Painting and Calligraphy Accompanying the Qianlong Emperor's Southern Tours, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2017, cat. no. 3).
Jadeite table screens carved with such detailed sceneries of cities are highly unusual; a jadeite screen carved with a landscape in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in the Museum's exhibition Jingtian gewu. Zhongguo lidai yuqi daodu/Art in Quest of Heaven and Earth. A Guide to Chinese Jades through the Ages, Taipei, 2011, cat. no. 7-5-2; and a larger pair of screens, in the National Museum of History, Taipei, was included in the exhibition Jade: Ch'ing Dynasty Treasures, Taipei, 1998, cat. nos 17 and 18. See also a white nephrite screen carved with Mount Riguan on one side and Baiyun Cave on the reverse, from the De An Tang Collection, included in the exhibition A Romance with Jade, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. no. 63; and another from the Thompson-Schwab Collection, sold in our London rooms, 9th November 2016, lot 7.
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