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Collection of K. C. Wong
Bluett & Sons Ltd., London
R.H.R. Palmer Collection, no. 166
Bonhams London, New Bond Street, 11 June 2003, lot 10
Knapton Rasti Asian Art, Works of Art, November 2007, cat. no. 16
The Wong Collection of Ancient Chinese Jades, Bluett & Sons Ltd, London, 1930, plate XIII, no. 445
K. C. Wong 舊藏
倫敦 Bluett & Sons Ltd. 古董行
R.H.R. Palmer 舊藏, 藏品編號 166
倫敦邦瀚斯, 2003年6月11日, 拍品編號 10
倫敦 Knapton Rasti 古董行，《Works of Art》，2007 年 11 月， 圖版編號 16
《The Wong Collection of Ancient Chinese Jades》，倫敦 Bluett & Sons Ltd. 古董行，1930，圖版編號 XIII，445
The elegant form and finely executed design make this vase and cover a fine example of this type. As Rawson noted in her 1995 monograph Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, "In the late Song and Yuan periods copies of bronze ritual vessels started to appear... Although this change is highly significant, suggesting as it does new approaches to both bronze and jade, there is considerable difficulty in dating jades that belong to the periods before the sixteenth century." Watt also stressed in the 1980 catalog Chinese Jades from Han to Ch'ing, "For a long time the dating or identification of jades from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries has been the most difficult problem in the study of post-Han jades, again mainly due to the lack of archaeological data. ... The available evidence, both from literary sources and from the actual specimens that have been assigned Sung dates by a process of elimination rather than on the basis of positive evidence, seems to indicate that Northern Sung jade carvers carried on working with T'ang motifs but in their own style."
Many jade vessels closely related to the present example exist in museum collections around the world, but the attribution has been inconsistent - a challenge outlined above and still present today, due to the lack of datable comparisons from archaeological finds. The archaizing design elements also add to the confusion, since they were all based on archaic bronze prototypes with minor alteration. On the present jade vase and cover, one may recognize the hooked scrolls commonly seen on Song dynasty jade carvings, the ram's head finials appeared on Ming dynasty jade vases, and the staining of the stone which was a known practice since the Han dynasty.
Compare the flattened pear shape jade hu vase decorated with keyfret borders and a phoenix in cartouche, in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated on the museum's website, described as Southern Song to Yuan dynasty.
Compare also the jade hu vase of closely related form with two protruding 'ears' similar to the present example, unearthed from the Xilin pagoda in Songjiang district, Shanghai, illustrated in Jade Wares of the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, Qing Unearthed from Shanghai, Shanghai, 2001, p. 74, no. 44.
The Xilin temple in Songjiang, Shanghai, was established in the Tang dynasty and has been an active Buddhist temple through the present day. The Xilin pagoda was built during the Xianchun era (1265-1274), Southern Song dynasty, destroyed in the early Yuan due to the war and unrest, and re-built in the 20th year of Hongwu (1387) in the Ming dynasty. In 1992, the temple compound and the pagoda received funding for a major renovation, to restore the damages inflicted during the Cultural Revolution. A wealth of artifacts was discovered under the pagoda during the renovation, including many of the jade carvings cited in this catalog.