Fri, 15th Oct 2021 10:00

TWO-DAY AUCTION - Fine Chinese Art / 中國藝術集珍 / Buddhism & Hinduism

 
  Lot 38
 

38

A RARE ROCK CRYSTAL PARFUMIÈRE WITH A ‘BUDDHIST LION’ FINIAL, QIANLONG PERIOD
乾隆時期罕見水晶獅鈕香水瓶

China, 1736-1795. Composed of three separately carved sections: the rectangular base with inward-curved feet and ruyi-shaped aprons; the finely curved body with canted corners as well as a pair of chilong handles, the cover with canted corners as well, a large oval aperture in the center, and surmounted by a finely carved side-facing Buddhist lion standing foursquare with scrolling bifurcated tail and mane. The stone of exceptional natural clarity with only faint ‘cloud’ inclusions. (3)

Provenance: Previously in the collection of Dr. J. P. Schotte (1931-2000), Brussels, Belgium.
Condition: Very good condition with minor wear and few minuscule nicks to edges, one of the four top corners of the main section minimally reduced.

Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: Height 18.9 cm

Naturally occurring crystal has long been prized in China amongst the literati who associated its understated qualities with plain beauty. Flawless in appearance with an almost glass-like clarity, the raw material of the present vessel alone would have been a great luxury in the 18th century, before the annexation of Xinjiang in 1759 that led to more abundant sources of crystal. One of the earliest records on crystal dates from the Tang dynasty (618-907) where it is mentioned as a product of “water turned to stone” and “a beautiful material imported from Persia”, hence the Chinese name shuijing, ‘the brilliance of water’.

It is particularly rare to find a piece of rock crystal of this exceptional size and natural clarity without internal flaws or inclusions. The craftsman who worked this piece created a design of great simplicity and elegance, to allow the astonishing quality of the stone to speak for itself. Clearly, the material itself was highly valued and only utilized for the highest quality works of art.

Expert’s note: While the form of this vessel presents somewhat of a mystery, the exceptional clarity of the stone and superb quality of carving clearly indicate it was crafted for imperial use. It is this author’s personal belief that the present lot was used as a parfumière, perhaps in a bath such as the Yude tang (Hall for Bathing in Virtue). This breathtaking, singular Turkish bathhouse was first built during the Yuan dynasty, later used to steam paper for Qing Emperors’ personal calligraphy and stands in the southwest corner of the Forbidden City to this day. According to one source, the Yude tang was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor for his concubine Xiang Fei, who had been captured for him in Xinjiang, where abundant sources of rock crystal were found. For further reading on this subject, see Adriana Proser, The Magazine ANTIQUES, March 2000 issue, p. 454-455, pl. VIII.

Literature comparison: Rock crystal objects produced for the imperial court are rare, with only a small number recorded from the Qing Court collection and preserved in the holdings of the Palace Museum, Beijing; two cups flanked with handles, one of lobed form and the other with facetted sides, are published in Zhongguo yuqi quanji [Complete collection of Chinese jades], vol. 6, Shijiazhuang, 1993, nos. 13 and 14 respectively; and a cup, vase and duck-form water dropper are published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Treasures of Imperial Court, Hong Kong, 2004, pls. 22, 23, and 181. Unmarked examples, all crafted with the same level of exquisite craftsmanship and unique in form and design, include a small washer from the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat collection, included in the Fung Ping Shan Museum exhibition, op. cit., cat. no. 93; and two archaistic vases, one from the collection of Lord Fairhaven and the other in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, published in R. Soame Jenyns, Chinese Art, The Minor Arts II, Fribourg, 1965, pls. 187 and 188, respectively. Compare another tall rock crystal vase from the Baur Collection, but with four more complex loose-ring handles, illustrated by P. F. Schneeberger, The Baur Collection: Chinese Jades and other Hardstones, Geneva, 1976, pl. B.103. Compare also a rock crystal vase and pierced cover, formerly in the Imperial collection of the Qianlong Emperor, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, accession number 1944-20-21a--c.

Auction result comparison: Compare a related rock crystal brush washer, dated Yongzheng to Qianlong period, and also unmarked, at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in Gems of Chinese Art from the Speelman Collection I on 3 April 2018, lot 3445, sold for HKD 2,500,000.

乾隆時期罕見水晶獅鈕香水瓶
中國,1736-1795年。由三個獨立的雕刻部分組成:長方形底座,內彎腳和如意邊; 瓶身縮肩鼓腹,龍形雙耳;瓶蓋亦有斜角,中央獅鈕,佛獅鬃毛和尾巴捲翹,雕刻生動活潑。水晶具有特別的清晰度,只有微量的雲狀絮狀物。

來源:比利時布魯塞爾Dr. J. P. Schotte (1931-2000) 私人收藏。
品相:品相極好,輕微磨損和邊緣微小的刻痕。瓶身四角之一輕微磨損。

重量:445 克
尺寸:高18.9 厘米

專家注釋:雖然這件香水瓶的形狀有些神秘,但水晶的異常清晰度和精湛的雕刻質量清楚地表明它是為皇家使用而製作的。筆者個人認為,本拍品曾被用作香水瓶,可能是在浴德堂之類的浴室中使用。浴德堂這座令人嘆為觀止的土耳其澡堂始建於元代,清代改為蒸紙處,供印刷書籍蒸熏紙張之用,至今仍屹立在紫禁城的西南角。 相傳浴德堂是乾隆皇帝為他的妃子香妃所建,香妃來自新疆,那裡發現了豐富的水晶礦。 有關此主題請參閱 The Magazine ANTIQUES, March 2000 issue, 第 454-455頁, pl. VIII。

拍賣結果比較:一件相近的水晶筆洗,雍正至乾隆時期,無款,見香港蘇富比 Gems of Chinese Art from the Speelman Collection I 于2018年4月3日 lot 3445, 售價HKD 2,500,000。

Sold for €4,045

including Buyer's Premium


 

China, 1736-1795. Composed of three separately carved sections: the rectangular base with inward-curved feet and ruyi-shaped aprons; the finely curved body with canted corners as well as a pair of chilong handles, the cover with canted corners as well, a large oval aperture in the center, and surmounted by a finely carved side-facing Buddhist lion standing foursquare with scrolling bifurcated tail and mane. The stone of exceptional natural clarity with only faint ‘cloud’ inclusions. (3)

Provenance: Previously in the collection of Dr. J. P. Schotte (1931-2000), Brussels, Belgium.
Condition: Very good condition with minor wear and few minuscule nicks to edges, one of the four top corners of the main section minimally reduced.

Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: Height 18.9 cm

Naturally occurring crystal has long been prized in China amongst the literati who associated its understated qualities with plain beauty. Flawless in appearance with an almost glass-like clarity, the raw material of the present vessel alone would have been a great luxury in the 18th century, before the annexation of Xinjiang in 1759 that led to more abundant sources of crystal. One of the earliest records on crystal dates from the Tang dynasty (618-907) where it is mentioned as a product of “water turned to stone” and “a beautiful material imported from Persia”, hence the Chinese name shuijing, ‘the brilliance of water’.

It is particularly rare to find a piece of rock crystal of this exceptional size and natural clarity without internal flaws or inclusions. The craftsman who worked this piece created a design of great simplicity and elegance, to allow the astonishing quality of the stone to speak for itself. Clearly, the material itself was highly valued and only utilized for the highest quality works of art.

Expert’s note: While the form of this vessel presents somewhat of a mystery, the exceptional clarity of the stone and superb quality of carving clearly indicate it was crafted for imperial use. It is this author’s personal belief that the present lot was used as a parfumière, perhaps in a bath such as the Yude tang (Hall for Bathing in Virtue). This breathtaking, singular Turkish bathhouse was first built during the Yuan dynasty, later used to steam paper for Qing Emperors’ personal calligraphy and stands in the southwest corner of the Forbidden City to this day. According to one source, the Yude tang was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor for his concubine Xiang Fei, who had been captured for him in Xinjiang, where abundant sources of rock crystal were found. For further reading on this subject, see Adriana Proser, The Magazine ANTIQUES, March 2000 issue, p. 454-455, pl. VIII.

Literature comparison: Rock crystal objects produced for the imperial court are rare, with only a small number recorded from the Qing Court collection and preserved in the holdings of the Palace Museum, Beijing; two cups flanked with handles, one of lobed form and the other with facetted sides, are published in Zhongguo yuqi quanji [Complete collection of Chinese jades], vol. 6, Shijiazhuang, 1993, nos. 13 and 14 respectively; and a cup, vase and duck-form water dropper are published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Treasures of Imperial Court, Hong Kong, 2004, pls. 22, 23, and 181. Unmarked examples, all crafted with the same level of exquisite craftsmanship and unique in form and design, include a small washer from the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat collection, included in the Fung Ping Shan Museum exhibition, op. cit., cat. no. 93; and two archaistic vases, one from the collection of Lord Fairhaven and the other in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, published in R. Soame Jenyns, Chinese Art, The Minor Arts II, Fribourg, 1965, pls. 187 and 188, respectively. Compare another tall rock crystal vase from the Baur Collection, but with four more complex loose-ring handles, illustrated by P. F. Schneeberger, The Baur Collection: Chinese Jades and other Hardstones, Geneva, 1976, pl. B.103. Compare also a rock crystal vase and pierced cover, formerly in the Imperial collection of the Qianlong Emperor, in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, accession number 1944-20-21a--c.

Auction result comparison: Compare a related rock crystal brush washer, dated Yongzheng to Qianlong period, and also unmarked, at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in Gems of Chinese Art from the Speelman Collection I on 3 April 2018, lot 3445, sold for HKD 2,500,000.

乾隆時期罕見水晶獅鈕香水瓶
中國,1736-1795年。由三個獨立的雕刻部分組成:長方形底座,內彎腳和如意邊; 瓶身縮肩鼓腹,龍形雙耳;瓶蓋亦有斜角,中央獅鈕,佛獅鬃毛和尾巴捲翹,雕刻生動活潑。水晶具有特別的清晰度,只有微量的雲狀絮狀物。

來源:比利時布魯塞爾Dr. J. P. Schotte (1931-2000) 私人收藏。
品相:品相極好,輕微磨損和邊緣微小的刻痕。瓶身四角之一輕微磨損。

重量:445 克
尺寸:高18.9 厘米

專家注釋:雖然這件香水瓶的形狀有些神秘,但水晶的異常清晰度和精湛的雕刻質量清楚地表明它是為皇家使用而製作的。筆者個人認為,本拍品曾被用作香水瓶,可能是在浴德堂之類的浴室中使用。浴德堂這座令人嘆為觀止的土耳其澡堂始建於元代,清代改為蒸紙處,供印刷書籍蒸熏紙張之用,至今仍屹立在紫禁城的西南角。 相傳浴德堂是乾隆皇帝為他的妃子香妃所建,香妃來自新疆,那裡發現了豐富的水晶礦。 有關此主題請參閱 The Magazine ANTIQUES, March 2000 issue, 第 454-455頁, pl. VIII。

拍賣結果比較:一件相近的水晶筆洗,雍正至乾隆時期,無款,見香港蘇富比 Gems of Chinese Art from the Speelman Collection I 于2018年4月3日 lot 3445, 售價HKD 2,500,000。

Zacke Live Online Bidding

Our online bidding platform makes it easier than ever to bid in our auctions! When you bid through our website, you can take advantage of our premium buyer's terms without incurring any additional online bidding surcharges.

To bid live online, you'll need to create an online account. Once your account is created and your identity is verified, you can register to bid in an auction up to 12 hours before the auction begins. 

Create an Account

  

Intended Spend and Bid Limits

When you register to bid in an online auction, you will need to share your intended maximum spending budget for the auction. We will then review your intended spend and set a bid limit for you. Once you have pre-registered for a live online auction, you can see your intended spend and bid limit by going to 'Account Settings' and clicking on 'Live Bidding Registrations'. 

Your bid limit will be the maximum amount you can bid during the auction. Your bid limit is for the hammer price and is not affected by the buyer’s premium and VAT.  For example, if you have a bid limit of €1,000 and place two winning bids for €300 and €200, then you will only be able to bid €500 for the rest of the auction. If you try to place a bid that is higher than €500, you will not be able to do so.

 

Online Absentee and Telephone Bids

You can now leave absentee and telephone bids on our website! 

Absentee Bidding

Once you've created an account and your identity is verified, you can leave your absentee bid directly on the lot page. We will contact you when your bids have been confirmed.

Telephone Bidding

Once you've created an account and your identity is verified, you can leave telephone bids online. We will contact you when your bids have been confirmed.

Telephone Bidding Form

 

Classic Absentee and Telephone Bidding Form

You can still submit absentee and telephone bids by email or fax if you prefer. Simply fill out the Absentee Bidding/Telephone bidding form and return it to us by email at office@zacke.at or by fax at +43 (1) 532 04 52 20.

Classic Absentee/Telephone Bidding Form 

 

Third-Party Bidding

We partner with best-in-class third-party partners to make it easy for you to bid online in the channel of your choice. Please note that if you bid with one of our third-party online partners, then there will be a live bidding surcharge on top of your final purchase price. You can find all of our fees here. Here's a full list of our third-party partners:

  • 51 Bid Live
  • EpaiLive
  • ArtFoxLive
  • Invaluable
  • LiveAuctioneers
  • the-saleroom
  • lot-tissimo
  • Drouot

Please note that we place different auctions on different platforms. For example, in general we only place Chinese art auctions on 51 Bid Live.

 

Bidding in Person

You must register to bid in person and will be assigned a paddle at the auction. Please contact us at office@zacke.at or +43 (1) 532 04 52 for the latest local health and safety guidelines.