A monumental Imperial incense burner and cover 19th century
Lot 254W
A monumental Imperial incense burner and cover
19th century
Sold for £181,250 (US$ 283,109) inc. premium

Lot Details
A monumental Imperial incense burner and cover
19th century
The monumental censer resting on three separately-cast curving legs with rounded feet each protuding from the jaws of a grinning mythical lion with rows of teeth and fangs beneath a bulbous nose, bulging eyes and tightly curling eyebrows, the rounded body of the censer superbly enamelled with three rows of regular lotus scrolls alternating red, yellow, white and blue blossoms on a turquoise ground, beneath a waisted neck and stepped rim with smaller bands of lotus scrolls, the body flanked on each side with a tall confidently-flaring handle supported in a cylindrical reticulated drum, the handle and support also with lotus scrolls, the censer surmounted by an unusually ornate and majestic domed cover formed as four downward-pointing ruyi-heads filled with lotus scroll on a ground of reticulated gilt cloud scrolls containing a single blossoming lotus, all beneath another band of lotus scroll surmounted by a magnificent finial shaped as a five-clawed gilt-bronze dragon coiling through reticulated cloud scrolls and encircling a flaming pearl above mythical mountains, the head forming the top of the finial with a roaring mouth and bulging eyes between long swirling whiskers, large wood stand. 161cm (63 3/8in) high, 133cm (52 3/8in) wide (8).

Footnotes

  • Provenance: according to an old photograph illustrating the monumental censer, this lot was the property of the last Vietnamese Emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty, Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, known as Bảo Đại (1913-1997).

    Probably sold in 1946 by Bảo Đại, who abdicated in 1945 and was closely associated with the French, to the famous French singer Lucienne Suzanne Dhotelle (1908-1968), known as 'la môme Moineau'. Dhotelle was married to Félix Benítez Rexach (1886-1975) who built the Normandie Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico in the late 1930s-early 40s. The censer most likely adorned their impressive Villa La Bagatelle in Cannes.

    Rexach remarried and following his death in 1975 it was kept in the Caribbean, until it was sold to the present owners.

    十九世紀 御製掐絲琺瑯纏枝蓮紋朝冠耳三獅足蓋爐

    來源: 根據一張舊照片所顯示的大爐,此拍賣品乃越南院朝最後的皇帝——阮福永瑞的藏品。
    阮福永瑞有可能將此拍賣品於1946年出售。他退位於1945年,並與一位知名法國歌手Lucienne Suzanne Dhotelle(1908-1968,也被稱為la môme Moineau)密切相關。Dhotelle的丈夫Félix Benítez Rexach (1886-1975)於二十世紀三十到四十年代早期在聖胡安波多黎各建立了Normandie酒店。此爐很有可能曾經在他們戛納堂皇的別墅Villa La Bagatelle作為裝飾。
    後來, Rexach再婚。在他1975年去世後,此爐收存在加勒比,直到售於現藏家。


    The monumental size of this cloisonné enamel incense burner and cover, rising to 161cm, high with a 133cm width across the handles, strongly suggests it could have only been specially commissioned for an Imperial Palace and is the largest known example. It is possible that it was gifted by the Qing Court to the Vietnamese Emperor in an exchange of presents and tribute during the 19th century.

    Particularly large cloisonné enamel objects were used by the Qing Court to adorn the Throne Halls and for use in rituals. Their size served to impress upon the audience the grand setting and its importance. Such cloisonné enamel objects are extant in the Forbidden City; see for example the large pairs of cranes in the Taihedian and the Qianchunggong as well as in other halls and palaces such as Shenyang Palace; see also the massive stupa (251cm high), Qianlong mark and of the period, and a large censer and cover, late Qing Dynasty (150cm high), illustrated by Zheng Xinmiao, ed., Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels, 3, Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Beijing, 2011, pls.53 and ibid., vol.4, pl.250. See also a very large cloisonné enamel Buddhist lion (237.5cm high), attributed to the 17th/18th century, from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, illustrated by Sir H.Garner, Chinese and Japanese Cloisonné Enamels, London, 1970, pl.73.

    The present censer is unsual not only for its size but also for the rare decoration of an enamelled chrysanthemum blossom set amidst the cloud scrolls on the cover. The chrysanthemum, a symbol of autumn, also represents longevity, which when combined with the dragon finial adorning the cover, would have been understood as wishing the Emperor long life.
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