An Imperial very pale green jade 'swallow and lotus' vase and cover Qianlong six-character fang gu mark and of the period  (2)

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Lot 9
An Imperial very pale green jade 'swallow and lotus' vase and cover
Qianlong six-character fang gu mark and of the period

Sold for HK$ 2,680,000 (US$ 341,412) inc. premium
An Imperial very pale green jade 'swallow and lotus' vase and cover
Qianlong six-character fang gu mark and of the period
Finely formed as a flattened baluster vase, the smooth sides each delicately carved in low relief with an identical design of a swallow in flight swooping towards an open lotus blossom issuing from waves together with smaller blooms, spreading lotus leaves and tall curling grassy fronds, the neck flanked on each side by an elephant-head suspending a loose-ring handle from the wrinkled trunk beneath a row of ruyi heads below the rim with a key-fret band, the cover similarly decorated with key-fret and ruyi heads beneath the stepped finial encircled by a twisted band of rope.
30.9cm (12 1/8in) high (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 青白玉雕荷花飛燕圖象耳銜環蓋瓶 「大清乾隆仿古」隸書刻款

    Provenance 來源:
    Spink & Sons Ltd., London, circa 1920s
    Somerset de Chair (1911-1995)

    Illustrated 出版:
    Spink & Sons Ltd., London, Works of Art: Chinese Art, Old English Silver, Fine Paintings, London, circa 1927, p.19

    The superbly carved vase is clearly inspired by paintings and is a testament to the craftsman's skill to achieve a high level of naturalism despite the hard jade surface, in the same way a painter would have achieved using brush on paper. Compare a 'swallow and lotus' ink on silk scroll painting attributed to Muxi (1220-1280 AD) in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (no.1981.34).

    The swallow, the symbol of spring, heralds good fortune and a prosperous change for the better. The lotus represents Buddhism, harmony and purity as well as summer, longevity and nobility. The elephant carved in high relief as handles on the present vase, represents prudence, wisdom and strength and when combined with a vase, as may be interpreted in this case, symbolises peace. It would therefore seem that the visual representation is that of the heralding and wish of the coming of harmonious peace and good fortune.

    Compare a slightly smaller pale greenish-white jade vase and cover, 18th century, with elephant handles and a composition of 'bird and flower' carving, in the Victoria and Albert Museum and illustrated on the cover of exhibition catalogue, The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Oriental Ceramic Society, Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages, London, 1975, no.424.

    玉呈青白色,玉質溫厚瑩潤,瓶長方口,直頸,腹扁而橢圓形。頸兩側為象首式耳,耳下有活環,瓶身兩面各雕荷花飛燕紋,將繪畫藝術及精湛雕工融為一體,表現出雅致的文人情懷。瓶底有長方形足。蓋斗式蓋,長方形疊式鈕。刻回紋和如意紋邊飾。底面陰刻「大清乾隆仿古」隸書款。玉瓶挺拔高雅,雕刻頗費玉料,無愧於乾隆盛世的代表作之一。

    此瓶曾被倫敦Spink & Sons公司著錄並出版於《Works of Art: Chinese Art, Old English Silver, Fine Paintings》,1927年,圖19。其紋飾受中國傳統水墨畫影響。玉質堅硬卻細膩,玉匠卻能猶如畫家以毛筆在紙上自由揮灑般表現出自然細致的裝飾紋樣,可見其高超的技能。瓶上的紋飾可參考南宋畫家牧谿的《燕子荷花圖》,現藏於美國俄亥俄州克利夫蘭藝術博物館(編號1981.34)。

    燕子被形容為春天的象徵,預示繁榮及時來好運。蓮花代表佛教、和諧和純潔,也象徵夏天,長壽和高貴。此瓶以高浮雕的工藝在瓶側巧雕象頭首雙耳,象代表謹慎,智慧和力量,當與花瓶聯系在一起,取「瓶」和「平」之同音,可指「太平有象」,寓意「天下太平」。因此,此玉瓶表現出和平吉祥之意。

    英國維多利亞及阿伯特博物館藏有一件十八世紀青白玉蓋瓶,該器同樣亦雕有象首耳及花鳥紋,曾著錄在英格蘭藝術委員會和東方陶瓷學會,《Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages》展覽圖錄封面上,倫敦,1975年,編號424。
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An Imperial very pale green jade 'swallow and lotus' vase and cover Qianlong six-character fang gu mark and of the period  (2)
An Imperial very pale green jade 'swallow and lotus' vase and cover Qianlong six-character fang gu mark and of the period  (2)
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