A double-sided inscribed Khotan jade 'Ańgaja' screen with boxwood stand Qianlong
Lot 307
An extremely rare Imperial double-sided inscribed Khotan jade 'Ańgaja' screen Qianlong
HK$ 1 million - 2 million
US$ 130,000 - 260,000
Lot Details
An extremely rare Imperial double-sided inscribed Khotan jade 'Ańgaja' screen
Qianlong
The superbly worked stone of rectangular form, intricately decorated on one side with the Ańgaja luohan seated cross-legged on rockwork, adorned in loose flowing robes, his long eyebrows and compassionate expression framed by his balding head with wrinkled and contorted facial structure, his left hand holding a sutra and a gnarled walking stick, the right counting prayer beads, all beneath an inscribed Imperial eulogy, five incised seal marks and name of the Buddhist disciple inscribed in phonetically translated 'unified rhymes', the reverse with another luohan seated on rockwork under a palm tree and wearing a kasaya, his right hand posed in a mudra and left holding a tiny Buddha seated on double-lotus amidst wispy smoke, accompanied by a ram depicted biting on a stem of ruyi, all beneath a finely incised kaishu inscription within a bordered panel with further four incised seal marks, the details all intricately gilt on the spinach-green stone, original boxwood stand.
21.7cm high. (2).

Footnotes

  • The exaggerated figural style of the decoration on the current lot, representing the eccentricity of a luohan, originated from the famous Five Dynasties painter, Guanxiu (823-912), where this unique style has become the signature characteristic amongst the artist's works. His paintings were later copied by the Qing dynasty court painter Ding Guanpeng, whose luohan painting (fig.2) is currently preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei.

    The Qianlong Emperor was a great admirer of the luohan paintings. He first saw Guanxiu's luohan paintings in the spring of 1757 during his stay at the West Lake in Hangzhou. Upon his visit to the Shengyinsi or 'Temple of Sage Reason', the Qianlong Emperor saw the set of sixteen luohan and wrote an eulogy for each of the images. Copies of these eulogies were presented to the monastery and preserved. In 1764, Qianlong ordered that the paintings held at the Shengyin Monastery be reproduced and engraved onto stone tablets for preservation. These were mounted like facets into a marble stupa for public display. The temple was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion but copies of ink rubbing of the steles were preserved in and outside of China.

    The Qianlong Emperor had such tremedous praise for the representation of the luohan, that he dedicated three essays to them, which are recorded within the first volume of Yuzhi wenji or 'Anthology of the Emperor's Writings' (fig.1). Two of the essays were inspired by Ding Guanpeng's copies; the third essay composed in 1762 was on the luohan paintings in Shengyinsi. Although many of the postscripts written by the Qianlong Emperor were not compiled into the anthology, it is stated that the Qianlong Emperor wrote yet another essay in praise of a set of images of the sixteen luohans made from Khotan or 'Hetian' jade. These jade images, including the current lot, were closely modelled after the luohan paintings by the great masters.

    For an album of white jade plaques engraved and gilded with luohans from the Qing court collection, preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, see Jadeware II. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2008, p.8, no.5. Compare also a sixteen-fold screen with inlaid jade plaques portraying the sixteen luohans dated to the fourty-second year of the Qianlong reign (1777) in the Palace Museum, Beijing, exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Art (22 June 2012 - 14 October 2012), and illustrated in A Lofty Retreat from the Red Dust: The Secret Garden of Emperor Qianlong, Hong Kong, 2012, pp.216-233, no.53.

    清乾隆 御製和闐碧玉描金御製詩文羅漢像插屏

    碧玉,長方形,正面以陰刻描金手法飾因揭陀尊者雙腳交叉,身著長袍,坐於壽石之上,羅漢高額長眉,表情專注,雙眼凝視左手所捧經文,右手數珠,彷彿口中念念有詞,一長杖斜靠於肩,表情生動,刻畫細緻。上方刻御題贊文:「衣披百衲,杖扶一笻。梵書貝帙,注目橫胸。阿唎吒迦,若有所記。記則不無,而非文字。」,並分別鈐「鴻慈永祐」、「墨雲」陽文方印。左上角為刻文「第一阿阿迎機達尊者」,後鈐「惟精惟一」陽文方印及「乾隆宸翰」陰文方印各一枚。另一面則刻另一羅漢坐手持淨瓶,坐於菩提樹下,瓶口一小佛穩坐蓮台,一縷清香升起,旁邊一仙鹿口銜靈芝,回首仰望,左下角鈐一「西湖明水」篆文方印,畫面上部陰刻御製跋文,曰:「龐眉台背,示此□身。西天茀居,而居聖因。筇竹罷扶,盤陀且坐。一彈指間,無可不可。羚羊挂角,銜芝而來。埋沒家寶,有如是哉?左持淨瓶,忽現大士。明聖之湖,全貯其裏。聖因寺僧明水獻此圖,因爲之贊,仍命珍弆寺中,爲山門佳話。乾隆壬午(1762)暮春並識」。跋文後鈐「幾暇怡情」、「乾隆宸翰」陰文方印及「得大自在」陽文方印。

    乾隆皇帝在1757年第二次南巡駐杭州西湖行宮到聖恩寺村禮拜時,看到從南宋時代就保存於該寺的五代高僧貫休所作十六羅漢圖後甚是喜愛、讚歎不已,於是親筆在畫上題贊,並在文後題了一段跋文闡述了這次經歷。此插屏正面所描繪的羅漢正是以貫休畫作為參照而作,而對羅漢的命名及排序則是按照乾隆皇定欽定的《同文韻統》中的和音字用漢字拼讀梵文,並且按照三世章嘉活佛若必多吉為他考定的十六羅漢次序而完成的。插屏上乾隆對貫休十六羅漢畫像的題贊以及跋文被收錄在《御製文集》之中,另外還有兩篇乾隆為宮廷畫師丁觀鵬仿貫休所作的十六羅漢像的贊文也被收錄其中(fig.1)。

    此碧玉插屏是目前所見傳世品中與貫休所作十六羅漢畫像有關的另一件重要器物。乾隆二十九年(1764年),聖恩寺主持高僧明水修妙相塔供於妙相亭內,塔上鑲嵌貫休十六羅漢及乾隆皇帝御題贊文,另乾隆三十五年(1770年),乾隆帝又在闡福寺內添萬佛樓,並在西側仿造聖恩寺修建妙相寺,裡面供奉一座相似的漢白玉佛塔。但聖恩寺於咸豐十一年(1861年)太平天國貢獻杭州時所毀,雖漢白玉佛塔得以倖免,如今保存於杭州碑林(孔廟)之中,但貫休原畫流失。而此插屏所繪羅漢與現藏於台北故宮丁觀鵬仿貫休所作十六羅漢像一致,見國立故宫博物院編輯委員會編,《故宫書畫圖錄》,第十三冊,台北,1989-,頁183-184。與貫休羅漢畫作有關的十六羅漢像中,目前闡福寺及杭州碑林所保存的兩座漢白玉佛塔上所雕刻羅漢像之外,還有一組收藏與北京故宮博物院的清乾隆硬木嵌玉十六羅漢像屏,為大臣國泰於乾隆四十二年(1777年)敬獻之禮品,乾隆看後深為所愛,並供奉於寧壽宮御花園雲光樓之中,見香港藝術館編,《頤養謝塵喧 – 乾隆皇帝的秘密花園》,香港,2012年,頁216-232,編號53,其對每位羅漢輪廓誇張的描繪手法,可以說完全是對已流失的貫休原畫作的再次重現。

    此插屏較常見桌屏形制較小,與此同樣尺寸的青玉描金玉器中,僅見北京故宮博物院藏的一套青玉「御製宋人十八應真像贊」冊,該冊一共有十片,每片上各描金刻有一羅漢圖,玉片嵌有黃緞邊框,置於錦套內,外有原配龍紋紫檀木匣,見張廣文編,《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系:玉器(下)》,香港,2008年,頁8,圖版5。
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