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Lot details

China. The flared sides supported on four short feet and rising to an everted bracket-lobed rim, the interior finely carved in relief to depict two confronting carps with lotus sprigs in their mouths. The opaque stone of a creamy ivory tone with dark veins and patches.

Provenance: From an old Swiss private collection and thence by descent to the last owner.
Condition: Good condition with minor old wear. The stone with natural inclusions and fissures, some of which have developed into small hairline cracks over time. Microscopic nicks here and there. The rim with a minor chip and associated old fill.

Weight: 224.9 g (excl. stand)
Dimensions: Length 15.3 cm

With a finely carved and open worked Zitan stand dating from the same period. (2)

Marriage bowls are so named because of their auspicious imagery symbolizing a long and happy marriage with abundant offspring to carry on the family line, and thus were often presented as betrothal or wedding gifts. In this case, the imagery is provided by the pair of fish and the lotus flowers as well as the ruyi form.

Chicken bone is a term for a rare and highly coveted nephrite jade of an opaque creamy beige color, often with extensive dark veining, which was particularly valued between the later Ming and early Qing dynasties. It is also sometimes said to be ‘burnt jade’ which has an opaque chalky appearance, usually with minute cracks all over the surface. It is known that nephrite - when heated to about 1000 degrees Celsius in a dry atmosphere - breaks down into diopside, enstatite (a magnesium silicate) and some quartz. In an experiment in the Freer Gallery Laboratory, samples of blue-green and white nephrite were submitted to temperatures up to 1025 degrees Celsius and both altered to an opaque chalky beige color with no change in the shape of the piece or the decoration of the surface. The chief mineral which resulted was diopside, and several nephrite jades in the Freer which appear to have been burnt also give a diopside x-ray diffraction pattern. Jadeite when heated in a similar manner behaves quite differently: it fuses to a glassy material, the surface smoothens out, and if the object is small enough it bends out of shape. See Elisabeth West, Jade: Its Character and Occurrence, The Bulletin of the University Museum of Pennsylvania, Volume 5, Issue 2, Winter 1963, page 5.

The Qianlong Emperor lauded jades, among many reasons, for the durability that this specific stone offers against the ravages of time and fire, unlike most others. The specific chicken bone color pattern of the present bowl may have been produced either by nature, or by deliberately heating the nephrite in a workshop, or by accidental exposure to fire. The collection of the Palace Museum in Beijing, for example, contains numerous chicken bone jades that were burnt in fires which erupted at the palace over the centuries.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Closely related
Auction: Christie’s London, 13 May 2016, lot 513
Price: GBP 86,500 or approx. EUR 124,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A ‘chicken bone’ jade relief-carved bowl, 17th-18th century
Expert remark: Compare the related relief carving and closely related chicken bone color pattern of the jade. Note the smaller size (12.7 cm).

中國 。花口玉洗,四短足,口沿外翻;玉洗内精美浮雕兩條面對面的鯉魚,魚嘴裡銜著小蓮花。乳白象牙色的不透明玉料,帶有深色紋理和斑塊。


重量:224.9 克 (不含底座)
尺寸:長 15.3 厘米



雞骨白是一種稀有的軟玉,呈不透明的乳白色,通常帶有廣泛的深色脈紋,在明末清初尤其受到重視。它具有不透明的鈣化斑,通常表面有微小的裂縫。有關雞骨白請參見 Elisabeth West,《Jade: Its Character and Occurrence》,賓夕法尼亞大學博物館公報,第 5 卷,第 2 期,1963 年冬季,頁5。

乾隆皇帝稱讚玉石的原因有很多,因為這種特殊的石料與大多數其他石頭不同,它能夠抵抗時間和火的破壞,經久耐用。 本碗的特定雞骨白斑紋可能是自然產生的,也可能是在作坊中故意加熱玉,特意做出的效果。例如,北京故宮博物院的藏品中就有在故宮大火中燒毀的大量雞骨玉器。

拍賣:倫敦佳士得,2016年5月13日,lot 513
價格:GBP 86,500(相當於今日EUR 124,000
專家評論:比較相近的浮雕和非常相近的雞骨白顏色。請注意尺寸較小 (12.7 厘米)。


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