An exceptional Imperial white jade rectangular 'dragon' plaque   Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Lot 205
An exceptional Imperial white jade rectangular 'dragon' plaque Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Sold for HK$ 620,000 (US$ 79,999) inc. premium
Lot Details
The Property of a Gentleman (lots 190-205)
An exceptional Imperial white jade rectangular 'dragon' plaque
Qianlong incised four-character mark and of the period
Of rectangular form, the brilliant white stone intricately worked on each side with a pair of archaistic kuidragons scrolling upwards and facing each other amidst further archaistic scrolls, flanking a cartouche with four-character inscription at the lower half, the frontal facade with an additional four-character zhuanshu mark, pierced and tied at the top with an original tassel featuring a reticulated shou-character finial worked from semi-precious hardstones.
4.7cm high.

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 白玉雕夔龍「九五之尊」掛牌 陰刻「乾隆年製」篆書款

    「金蘜莊嚴」、「安石月暉」篆書款

    Provenance 來源:
    Property of a private French collector
    Sotheby's Paris, 18 December 2009, lot 38

    This outstanding Imperial white jade plaque is inscribed on both sides. The front side is intricately worked with a Qianlong four-character reign mark flanked by a pair of kui dragons. The four-character phrase worked into the jade beneath this, jinju zhuangyan, which literally translates as 'Golden Chrysanthemum with Dignity', emblematic of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

    The reverse is inscribed with the four-character phrase anshi yuehui, literally translates as 'The Moonlight of Anshi'. Anshi is an old name for a Central Asian land where pomegranates were considered to have been introduced to China in the Jin dynasty (260-420). Pomegranates are emblematic of the fifth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. According to the I-Ch'ing, nine and five, taken together are symbolic of the Imperial throne.

    The quality of the white jade on this plaque, and the exceptional workmanship, combined with the distinctly Imperial iconography and kui dragon motifs, clearly point to it being a specially commissioned piece at the Qianlong Court, where it would have been highly prized.

    以白玉為料,玉質瑩潤白透,玉牌四角打磨圓潤,兩面分別雕雙夔龍紋,其中一面陰刻「乾隆年製」篆書款及陽文「金蘜莊嚴」篆書款,另一面刻陽文「安石月暉」篆書款,字體端正,雕工講究。

    此玉牌紋飾題材極為少見,且蘊意豐富。「金蘜莊嚴」即指代菊花,菊花為花中四君子之一,常被文人雅士用作高情遠致以及出眾人品的象徵,故而以「莊嚴」以示其高風亮節之態。然因菊花又寓意長壽延年,加之其花形雍容華美,因此尤其被乾隆皇帝為推崇,乾隆御題詩中就常見有讚譽菊花之佳句。玉牌另一面所雕「安石月暉」則隱射石榴。據晉人張華《博物誌》記載,西漢張賽出使西域,將石榴從安石國帶回中原,古此得名。石榴寓意富貴多子,常與佛手和壽桃搭配作福壽三多之題材在宮廷藝術上出現。

    宮廷藝術中,常見將十二月花卉紋飾用於裝飾之御用器皿,例如北京故宮博物院藏康熙朝五彩或青花十二花神杯及白玉十二月令組佩。十二月花卉中,因農曆九月深秋為菊花盛開之時而被稱之為「菊月」,而農曆五月為石榴花開最盛時節而被雅稱為「榴月」,然《周易·乾》中曰:「九五,飛龍在天,利見大人」,可見「九五」象徵帝王權威,正所謂「九五之尊」也。此掛牌玉料上乘,題材少見,寓意深邃,實為難的。
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