Property from an important private collection (lots 381-403)
A gilt-bronze and cloisonné-enamelled medicinal armrest
Qianlong The upper surface brilliantly enamelled with chrysanthemum blossoms issuing from rockworks with butterflies in flight waiting to feed on the nectar on leiwen ground, the sides interspersed with twelve stylised lotus sprays, all elaborately enamelled in vivid tones of white, yellow, red, blue, green and black on turquoise ground. 25.7cm wide.
Provenance 來源: Acquired from an antique dealer in Paris, 1994 1994年購於法國巴黎古董商
Ba Mai or 'taking pulse' in a traditional Chinese method for medical examiners to diagnose and treat illness. The patient would sit beside the medical examiner with outstretched hand placed onto the armrest, allowing the medical examiner to 'take pulse' by feeling the anomalies of the heartbeat and blood flow at the underside of the wrist.
Imperial medicinal armrests are rarely seen and preserved in good condition, and the fact that the current lot is crafted in gilt-bronze and cloisonne enamels only served to show the exceptional rarity of such piece. Although a unique piece altogether, the free-flowing lotus scroll decoration and leiwen motif is often seen and used during the mid Qing dynasty on other more common antiques of the same period, all currently in the Imperial collection at the Palace Museum, Beijing, see Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum. Enamels 3. Cloisonne in the Qing dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pp.159 & 194, no.124 & 159.
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