A massive carved 'Hubei huguang' dragon' brushwasher Early Qing dynasty
Lot 206
A massive carved 'Hubei huguang' dragon' brushwasher Early Qing dynasty
Sold for HK$ 540,000 (US$ 69,676) inc. premium
Auction Details
A massive carved 'Hubei huguang' dragon' brushwasher Early Qing dynasty
Lot Details
A massive carved 'Hubei huguang' dragon' brushwasher
Early Qing dynasty
The massively constructed vessel of compressed globular form, boldly carved around the exterior in varying levels of relief with five dragons writhing in pursuit of flaming pearls amidst swirling clouds, one of the dragons depicted with five claws, the others with four claws, all depicted in ferocious poise with gaping jaws, long and powerful scaly bodies, all above a wondrous raging torrent depicted swirling to the centre of the base from crested breaking waves, the stone of an even creamy-beige stone.
17cm wide.

Footnotes

  • 清初 湖北湖廣石雕雲龍戲珠洗

    Provenance來源:
    Hugh M. Moss Ltd, 30 December 1982

    Brushwashers of this form and decoration are known in nephrite, but it is extremely rare to find one carved from soapstone. The quality of the carving and the subject matter itself strongly suggest that the current lot was commissioned for the court in the early Qing period, probably during the Kangxi reign.

    For a white nephrite brushwasher from the Qing Court collection, with similar vigorous carving of dragons amidst crashing waves, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see Zhongguo yuqi quanji, vol.6, Shijiazhuang, 1993, pl.333. See also a spinach-green nephrite brushwasher sold at Sotheby's London, 10 November 2010, lot 316, and a white nephrite brushwasher from the Santa Marina collection, illustrated by S. Marchant & Son, Chinese Jades from Han to Qing, London, 2005, pl.17. This nephrite brushwasher shares the unusual decorative scheme with the current lot, in that one of the dragons is depicted with five claws, and the others with four claws. It has the same wave design on the base.

    For a possible prototype, see a pale green and russet nephrite brushwasher carved with one five-clawed and two three-clawed dragons, illustrated by Tsang and Moss, ibid, pg. 122, pl. 89, which they argue is based on the famous massive nephrite vessel of the Yuan dynasty, now in the Round Fort, Beijing, described by Yuan sources as one of the wonders of the Mongol Court at Beijing, and later inscribed by the Qianlong emperor. It is illustrated by James Watt, Chinese Jade Carving, The Asia Society, New York, 1980, pg. 75-78.
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