An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 13
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher
Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period

HK$ 2,500,000 - 3,000,000US$ 320,000 - 380,000
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher
Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
The exquisite translucent stone of golden-yellow and honey-brown tones highlighted with a matrix of natural milky and creamy yellow veins and banded ripples, superbly carved as a slender oval bowl with shallow rounded sides gracefully raised on a slightly recessed base, expertly polished to a lustrous sheen, the underside carefully carved with a horizontal four-character mark in seal script.
18.7cm (7 3/8in) wide

Footnotes

  • 清雍正 御製瑪瑙橢圓形洗 「雍正年製」篆書刻款

    Provenance 來源:
    A British private collection, acquired prior to the 1950s, and thence by descent
    Bonhams London, 12 May 2011, lot 184

    英國私人收藏,蒐於1950年代以前,後由其家族繼承
    倫敦邦瀚斯,2011年5月12日,拍品184

    The agate brushwasher belongs to an exceptionally rare group of Imperial vessels carved from agate, made in the Imperial Jade Workshop, yuzuo, within the Imperial Palace Works, the Zaobanchu, during the Yongzheng reign and bearing the Imperial mark. It encapsulates the Yongzheng emperor's interest in antiquity as well as in objects made for the scholar's desk and demonstrates the superb craftsmanship achieved by the Imperial Workshops.

    The Yongzheng emperor took personal interest in the artistic production during his period including both Imperial porcelain and works of art. Records in the archives of the Imperial Jade Workshops, yuzuo, dated between 1724 and 1729, note that the emperor ordered for agate brushwashers and bowls to be kept undecorated in order to show the original pattern of the agate stone; pieces with 'intricate' designs or of unsatisfactory quality were rejected and sent back to the Imperial Palace Workshops. The Imperial collections in Taipei and Beijing hold a number of extant agate vessels, bearing the Yongzheng mark and of the period, which similarly to the present lot and according to the Yongzheng emperor's instructions, were kept plain. These include from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, bowls of various forms, a water dropper, and a cup on a similarly shaped oval stand; see Feng Mingzhu, Harmony and Integrity: The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times, Taipei, 2009, pp.235-245; and from the Palace Museum, Beijing, an agate cup and dish; see Yang Boda, Zhongguo yuqi quanji, Hebei, 2005, pp.553 and 550, nos.10 and 62.

    When comparing the number of agate vessels and jade carvings bearing the Yongzheng and Qianlong reign marks, it is evident that the Yongzheng emperor greatly admired the natural virtues of the agate stone. The Qianlong period saw greater output of jade carvings, although there was continuity of agate carvings in the Imperial Workshops as demonstrated in an agate bowl-stand, Qianlong mark and period, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which according to the Wells bequest records came 'from the Summer Palace at Pekin', referring to the Yuanmingyuan; see M.Wilson, Chinese Jades, London, 2004, pp.96-97, pl.95 (museum no.1551A-1882).

    The oval rounded shape of the present lot is particularly rare and possibly derives from the form of the archaic wine vessel known as a yushang, which first appeared during the Warring States period (475–221 BC). See also an agate vessel of similar form excavated from a tomb dated to the Tang dynasty in the Eastern suburb of Xi'an, now in the Shaanxi History Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua dacidian: jinyinyushi juan, Hong Kong, 1996, p.62, no.190.

    洗橢圓形,直口,斜腹,淺圈足,足底陰刻四字篆書款。器身光素無紋,打磨精緻,拋光潤澤,瑪瑙晶瑩剔透之質加以其天然結晶,如祥雲疊現,渾然天成,巧奪天工。

    根據清宮《活計檔·玉作》中記錄可知,此類瑪瑙洗應是遵循雍正皇帝旨意由清宮造辦處而製作。瑪瑙顏色通透,紋理豐富,劉明倩曾引用東漢許慎《說文解字》中對玉的描述,認為瑪瑙可以與玉媲美,足見瑪瑙器皿在宮廷藝術之地位。

    雍正皇帝對造辦處所作瑪瑙器皿要求極為嚴謹苛刻,常要求工匠將瑪瑙器「往薄裡磨做」,並要求做「素淨」的。在雍正二年至雍正七年之間,清宮《活計檔》中有關雍正皇帝下旨製作或者改作瑪瑙器皿的記錄最多,其中很多都透露出雍正皇帝對於瑪瑙器皿素雅、簡潔的線條以及注重瑪瑙天然紋理的審美概念。例如雍正五年十月十二日,「郎中海望持出:花瑪瑙酒圓一件。奉旨著將口上不圓處收拾。」另外,雍正皇帝對於瑪瑙製作刻款一事也極為慎重,只有其滿意的作品才能刻款,如雍正三年五月初一日由怡親王呈覽時奉旨,「凡做的活計,好而刻字,不好的不必刻字,欽此。」如此更足見此件水洗之珍貴。

    在傳世所見的宮廷御製瑪瑙器中,橢圓形洗極為稀有。其器形或宗奉戰國時期酒器「羽觴」而來。1970年陝西西安唐代窖藏出土一件瑪瑙橢圓形羽觴,現藏於陝西省博物館,其器形亦捨去了傳統羽觴雙耳,與此雍正瑪瑙水洗幾乎一致,見《中國文物精華大辭典:金銀玉石卷》,香港,1996年,頁62,圖190。

    其他帶有刻款的雍正瑪瑙傳世品,見北京故宮博物院藏一件,楊伯達,《中國玉器全集》,河北,2005年,頁553及550,編號10及62;台北國立故宮博物院藏八件器形各異的瑪瑙杯及盌,見《雍正:清世宗文物大展》,台北,2009年,圖II61-68,另見一組瑪瑙杯及橢圓形杯托,圖II-70。
Contacts
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
An extremely rare Imperial banded-agate oval brushwasher Incised Yongzheng horizontal four-character seal mark and of the period
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% up to HK$1,200,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HK$1,200,001 to HK$20,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% over HK$20,000,001 of the Hammer Price.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.