An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later

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Lot 8065
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing
Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later

Sold for US$ 50,000 inc. premium

Chinese Works of Art

14 Mar 2016, 11:00 EDT

New York

PROPERTY FROM THE JOANNA LAU SULLIVAN TRUST
LOTS 8046-8080
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing
Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
The dark green stone shaped as an asymmetric chevron, with one squared end and one tapered end and a hole for suspension carved at the top angle, each broad side with the gilt-painted traces of a pair of five-clawed dragons reaching towards a flaming pearl among cloud scrolls, the longer upper edge incised and gilt with the characters wu yi and the shorter upper edge with the characters Qianlong ershijiu nianzhi.
13 5/8in (34.4cm) long, longest edge

Footnotes

  • 1764年 碧玉描金龍紋罄 《乾隆二十九年》《無射》款

    Provenance:
    The Joanna Lau Sullivan Trust

    Sets of jade chimes, and the mysterious, reverberating, unearthly sounds they can produce, were a central element of complex rituals in China. Such rituals were not only spiritual but also political in their significance: performance of the highly circumscribed grand sacrifices of state underpinned the legitimacy of the dynasty and established the Emperor as the single intermediary between Heaven and Earth.

    Stone chimes may be traced back to about 1700 BC, and jade chimes from the late Eastern Zhou period. The notes of these archaic chimes were not simply for musical pleasure, but held a higher, moral power which was considered vital to the health of the state. The Book of Music states that "when the early rulers formed Music, their purpose was not to satisfy the senses, but rather to bring people back to the correct direction in life": see Immortal Images: The Jade Collection of Margaret and Trammel Crow, Dallas, 1989, p. 28. The archaic origins and moral purpose would have greatly appealed to the Qianlong Emperor, who placed much emphasis on high moral behavior achieved through the restoration of ancient ways.

    Jade chimes such as the present lot are made of dark spinach green jade, in contrast to the yellow and white jade which was also prized during the height of Qing jade production. The dark stone was then sometimes enlivened by gilding of dragons or inscriptions, although the stone was often left undecorated but for the inscribed date and the tone. They were produced in sets of 16 tones (or twelve tones and four half-tones) and were commissioned in astonishing numbers: see for example a chime from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, illustrated in Later Chinese Jades: Ming Dynasty to Early Twentieth Century, San Francisco, 2997, no. 196, where it is noted that more than 160 chimes were commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor from the Suzhou workshops in 1761.

    Given the size, rarity and expense of the jade required for each set, their importance for status and ritual cannot be underestimated. A set of such chimes, suspended from an elaborately carved and tasseled stand would have been an awe-inspiring sight.

    A set of sixteen jade chimes dated 1764 from the Palace Museum, Beijing, was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, in 2005 and illustrated in the catalog China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795, no. 31. Another chime with the same tone as the present lot, wuyi, from the Qing Court Collection is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 2006, no. 1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Freer Sackler Gallery in Washington DC, both contain in their collections a jade chime dated to the Kangxi period corresponding to 1716: museum accession numbers 03.15.1 and F1982.11a-d, respectively.

    Compare also a gilt spinach jade chime dated to Qianlong 29th year, with the tone beiyizi, sold at Sotheby's Paris, 10 June 2014, sale PF1407, lot 80, and another ungilded spinach jade chime also dated Qianlong 29th year, with the tone beinanlu, sold at Sotheby's London, 6 November 2013, sale L13211, lot 168.
Contacts
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
An Imperial gilt-decorated spinach jade musical chime, qing Dated Qianlong 29th year, corresponding to 1764, the gilding later
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