3343
3343
AN EXTREMELY RARE SET OF TWELVE WHITE JADE ZODIAC FIGURES
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimation
1 500 0002 500 000
ACCÉDER AU LOT
3343
AN EXTREMELY RARE SET OF TWELVE WHITE JADE ZODIAC FIGURES
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
Estimation
1 500 0002 500 000
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Jades, Ambers and Hardstones from a Distinguished Connoisseur

|
Hong Kong

AN EXTREMELY RARE SET OF TWELVE WHITE JADE ZODIAC FIGURES
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
comprising twelve anthropomorphic animal figures of the zodiac, namely rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, each depicted seated with head looking straight on or slightly turned to one side, wearing long robes falling into voluminous folds and neat pleats, variously holding attributes including a scroll, fly whisk, basket of flowers, fan, flaming pearl, spear, staff, yinyang symbol and arrow, the stones of even white tone
5.5 to 5.7 cm, 2 1/8  to 2 1/4  in.
Lire le rapport d'état Lire le rapport d'état

Description

Figures of this type are known to have been produced under the direct commission of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795). Originally stored inside a box known as wannian jiazi he, the figures were placed around a central rectangular jade box carved with the Daoist qian trigram, a symbol of the Qianlong Emperor; thus they appear to have represented celestial guardians protecting the emperor in all directions. According to the Archive of the Imperial Workshop, on the  21st day of the 5th month of the 48th year of Qianlong reign (corresponding to 1783), a complete set of twelve white jade zodiac figures and their boxes were delivered to the Imperial Court from Suzhou, all of which was placed in Maoqin Dian (Hall of Merit and Diligence) on the 10th day of the 12th month of the same year.

Qian Jiuru in ‘Wannian Jiazi he’, Forbidden City, 1992 (5), p. 5, suggests that the creation of this group of objects was to commemorate the milestone victory of the Jinchuan suppression, the most difficult of the Ten Great Campaigns of the Qianlong period. It also embodies the Emperor’s inner literati spirit, as the zodiac theme, according to the poetic inscription on the wannian jiazi, was inspired by the works of talented Chou Yuan (c. 1247-1326), whose Jin Yuan Ji comprised of phrases that deliberately incorporated names of the twelve zodiac animals into individual registers and was recorded in the Yongle Dadian [Yongle Encyclopaedia].

Complete sets of white jade twelve zodiac figures are held in important museums and private collections worldwide; see a set of similar size, from the De An Tang collection, included in the exhibition A Romance with Jade, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. no. 76; and another from the collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, illustrated in Robert Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 111, and sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 28th November 2006, lot 1416. See also a set of similar figures, but smaller in size, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Jade Ware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 111; a larger set sold in our New York rooms, 23rd September 1995, lot 256; and a set carved from pale celadon jade, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accession no. 02.18.730a-I.

Important Jades, Ambers and Hardstones from a Distinguished Connoisseur

|
Hong Kong