A rare pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel luduan 18th century, with French gilt-bronze mounts (4)

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Lot 67
A rare pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel luduan
18th century, with French gilt-bronze mounts

HK$ 650,000 - 800,000
US$ 84,000 - 100,000
A rare pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel luduan
18th century, with French gilt-bronze mounts
One modelled with its head turned slightly to the left and the other to the right, each horned beast with spotted face and protruding eyes staring upwards, its mouth opened wide revealing sharp teeth and tongue, the scale-like body with hairy mane at the chest and running down the knobbed spine ending in a furry tail, all finely enamelled in bright colours of white, green, yellow, blue and brown on a rich turquoise ground, with gilt-bronze European stands.
Each overall 25.8cm (10 1/8in) wide (4).

Footnotes

  • 十八世紀 銅胎掐絲琺瑯甪端一對 (配法國銅鎏金座)

    Luduan, are legendary beasts believed to be capable of detecting the truth, traveling great distances in short amounts of time, and to be fluent in all languages. Often mistaken for qilin, which have hooved feet, luduan tend to have rounder bodies and clawed paws. Due to their ability to distinguish good and evil, incense burners in the form of these beasts were favoured by the court and important in the imperial context to symbolise the emperor's intelligence and wisdom as a virtuous ruler with the mandate from heaven to rule. This is evident by the placement of cloisonné enamel luduan incense burners near the thrones in important imperial halls in the Forbidden City, including the Hall of Supreme Harmony, 太和殿 Taihedian.

    Cloisonné enamel luduan incense burners were first produced during the Ming dynasty. For Ming dynasty prototypes with the heads comprising the cover, see two examples dated to the Wanli period, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels 1, Beijing, 2011, pls.102 and 103. Compare also three further examples, Qianlong mark and period, illustrated in The Prime Cultural Relics Collected by Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum: The Enamel Volume, Shenyang, 2007, pp.90-95, nos.4-6.

    A related pair from the T.B.Kitson Collection, dated Qianlong, was sold at Sotheby's London, 30 May 1961, lot 405; see also another similar pair sold at Christie's New York, 30 March 2005, lot 153.

    甪端乃中國古代傳說中的神獸,與麒麟相似,頭上有一角,宋《符瑞志》曰:「甪端日行萬八千里,又曉四夷之語,聖主在位,明達方外幽遠,則奉書而至。」因此故宮太和殿兩邊均有甪端護衛在側,肅穆威嚴,以顯示皇帝為有道明君,身在寶座而曉天下事,做到八方歸順,四海來朝,聖明地治理天下;在官方象徵光明正大、秉公執法,而民間則象徵吉祥如意、風調雨順。

    以掐絲琺瑯工藝所製的甪端始見於明萬曆年間,無疑有助於對銅胎琺瑯器的斷代。北京故宮博物院藏兩件明萬曆時期掐絲琺瑯甪端香薰可資比較,見《故宮博物院藏品大系:琺瑯器編1》,北京及安徽,2011年,頁208-209;圖版102及103;瀋陽故宮博物院也藏三件清乾隆時期之掐絲琺瑯甪端可供參考,見《瀋陽故宮博物院院藏文物精粹:琺瑯卷》,瀋陽,2007年,頁90-95,編號4,5及6。

    參看T.B.Kitson舊藏一對銅胎掐絲琺瑯甪端,後售於倫敦蘇富比,1961年5月30日,編號405;另見紐約佳士得售出一對,2005年3月30日,編號153。
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A rare pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel luduan 18th century, with French gilt-bronze mounts (4)
A rare pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel luduan 18th century, with French gilt-bronze mounts (4)
A rare pair of gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel luduan 18th century, with French gilt-bronze mounts (4)
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