Jet; reasonably well hollowed, with a flat lip and recessed flat foot surrounded by a protruding flattened footrim; carved with two chi dragons facing each other on one main side, the other main side inscribed in relief seal script chizha fengyun (An angry shout raises the winds and clouds) Probably Beijing, possibly Imperial, 17601840 Height: 6.38 cm Mouth/lip: 0.54/1.68 cm Stopper: tourmaline; turquoise collar
Condition: Some softening of detail and abrasions to surface from use; otherwise, workshop condition
Provenance: H. G. Beasley (1936) Miss M. A. Beasley Sotheby's, London, 2 July 1984, lot 75 Dr & Mrs Glenn W. Gordon Robert Hall (1990)
Published: Hall 1990, no. 84 Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 253 Treasury 7, no. 1603
Exhibited: Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum of Singapore, November 1994January 1995
The subject of chi dragons together with very similar designs in a range of other materials strongly suggests a courtly connection. If the carver did not work at the palace, it is likely that he nevertheless supplied the court; the works he produced are among the most exciting jet bottles with carved relief decoration.
The inscription, in elegant and convincing relief seal script, is an old phrase characterising the awesome might of a hero.