A very rare and monumental white marble fountain 18th century
Lot 382W
A very rare and monumental white marble fountain
18th century
£100,000 - 150,000
US$ 160,000 - 230,000

Lot Details
A very rare and monumental white marble fountain 18th century A very rare and monumental white marble fountain 18th century A very rare and monumental white marble fountain 18th century A very rare and monumental white marble fountain 18th century
A very rare and monumental white marble fountain
18th century
Of rectangular form, constructed in separate sections, the lower plinth masterfully carved at each corner in high relief with a Buddhist lion flanking an archaistic foliate scroll intertwined in the centre, with a tiered ridged top supporting the central sections, carved around the front main register with a ferocious taotie mask above a ruyi-head flanked on either side by an interlocked pair of confronted archaistic dragons, the corners carved with framed foliate scrolls, the sides carved similarly to the front, all supporting the bevelled wide rim, the back set with a pair of mirror-image angled plaques, each carved in high relief with a pair of peacock amidst a flowering tree peony amidst rockwork, framed by a border carved in relief with chi dragons amidst foliate scrolls, with a dragon-head terminal to each far side, with a further trapezoidal panel carved in high relief with a pair of confronted dragons pursuing the flaming pearl of wisdom amidst cloud scrolls, framed by a tiered ridged frame. The main sections, overall 313cm (123 1/4in) wide x 107cm (42 1/8in) deep x 63cm (24 3/4in) high; each angled panel, 125.2cm (49 1/4in) wide x 119.5cm (47in) high; the trapezoidal section, 99.5cm (39 1/4in) wide x 41.8cm (16 1/2in) high (15).

Footnotes

  • 十八世紀 大理石雕花鳥獸面紋大噴泉

    Provenance: Champalimaud Collection, Casa Estanque, Lisbon, Portugal, by repute
    A Portuguese private collection

    來源:據傳是葡萄牙里斯本位於Casa Estanque的Champalimaud收藏
    葡萄牙私人收藏

    The masterful craftsmanship of this monumental marble fountain is a testament to Chinese architecture of the 18th century. Although it is not possible to identify the original location of this magnificent piece, its opulence, magnitude, decorative style and symbolism would indicate an Imperial Palace.

    The archaistic decoration, evident in the taotie masks flanked by confronted stylised chi dragons, is clearly inspired by archaic ritual vessels. The inspiration in decorative forms and designs from archaic objects was encouraged by the Qianlong Emperor who advocated to 'restore ancient ways', aiming to imbue designs with simplicity and honesty, achieving refinement and elegance. The 'ancient ways' referred to the intrinsic values of sincerity, simplicity, and happy exuberance. Archaism in the 18th century is frequently represented in a variety of mediums and particularly in jade carvings and porcelain.

    Marble was an extravagant material used in Imperial Court and religious buildings, often as the basis on top of which the wooden structures were raised; the two most eminent examples are the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. A more lavish use of the luxurious material is demonstrated in the ruins of the Yuanming Yuan, where the European rococo-style buildings were covered in marble.

    The combination of peacock and peony represents the wish 'May you gain culture, wealth and honour'. The peacock represents splendour, whilst the peony, symbolising spring and the sixth month of the year, further represents wealth and advancement in life.
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