A rare pale green jade two-handled bowl Probably Ottoman, 18th century

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Lot 116
A rare pale green jade two-handled bowl
Probably Ottoman, 18th century

Sold for HK$ 200,000 (US$ 25,494) inc. premium
A rare pale green jade two-handled bowl
Probably Ottoman, 18th century
Exquisitely carved with thin translucent deep flaring sides, rising from a short spreading foot elaborately carved as a flowering blossom, the exterior decorated in low relief with shaped panels containing flowers, all between two borders of scrolling foliage, flanked by a pair of pierced elaborate flower handles, the stone of translucent white tone with milky-white inclusions. 18cm (7 1/8in) wide.

Footnotes

  • 十八世紀 或為鄂圖曼 痕都斯坦式青白玉雕花柄盌

    Provenance:
    Sir John William Buchanan-Jardine (1900-1969), 3rd Baronet of Castle Milk, according to Spink invoice
    The Oriental Art Gallery Ltd., London
    An English private collection, acquired from the above circa 1994
    Spink & Son Ltd., London
    An English private collection, acquired from the above on 12 July 1999

    來源:
    米爾克堡第三男爵,約翰·威廉·渣甸爵士舊藏(1900-1969)(如斯賓克收據所示)
    倫敦東方藝術有限公司
    英國私人收藏,約1994年獲藏於以上古董商
    斯賓克有限公司,倫敦
    英國私人收藏,於1999年7月12日獲藏於以上古董商

    Sir John William Buchanan-Jardine was a scion of Sir William Jardine, the founder of Jardine, Matheson & Co. Established in Canton in 1832, this great shipping company rose to dominate the lucrative China trade and was instrumental in the early development of Hong Kong. The Jardine family played an influential role as proponents of punitive action against the Manchu court, leading to the infamous Opium Wars. From their privileged position in the Far East, the family was in a strong position to secure important pieces from the Chinese Imperial collections after the looting of the Summer Palace, Peking, and the subsequent periods of instability.

    When the Qianlong emperor was presented in 1768 with the first pair of jade plates decorated with carved flowers and leaf designs, he wrote a composition judging them to be from 'Hindustan' (north India). He did not realise that many of the so-called 'Hindustan' jade carvings originated from further afield, including the Ottoman Empire which due to its political power and Islamic religion had trade relations as far the Mughal Empire. Twenty-two of the jade wares in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, are indeed attributed to the Ottoman Empire; see Teng Shu-p'ing, Treasures from Across the Kunlun Mountains: Islamic Jades in the National Palace Museum Collection, Taipei, 2015, pp.159-160.

    One of the most significant characteristics of Ottoman jades is their thin bodies. This is consistent with the Qianlong emperor's admiring remarks in his poems when he says that they were 'lustrous and paper-thin', that one could 'see the flowers and leaves though them/ but could not feel and trace', and that "the shadow of your hand outside can be seen from the inside/ The flowers lift and the leaves curl back on themselves' and 'in one's hand, it seems immaterial/ and one must fix the gaze on it to know it has form"; the physical traits described by the Qianlong emperor above are applicable to the present lot. Compare also two Ottoman jade bowls, illustrated by Teng Shu-p'ing, ibid., p.160, pls.163-164.

    The present lot is remarkable not only for the elegant form and translucent thin walls, but also for the elaborate handles, each comprising three flowers, complemented by the similarly shaped foot, attesting to the masterful craftsmanship.

    Compare a white jade Mughal cup, incised Qianlong mark and period, but of smaller size and without handles, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 4 April 2012, lot 3069.

    約翰·威廉·渣甸爵士為怡和洋行創始人威廉·渣甸之孫。怡和洋行前身為1832年在廣州創辦的渣甸洋行,早年參與對中國貿易,主要從事鴉片和茶葉買賣,現在仍是遠東最大的英資集團。1839年林則徐禁煙,渣甸洋行遊說英國政府與滿清開戰並引發後來的鴉片戰爭。鴉片戰爭爆發後,渣甸洋行將總公司從廣州遷至香港,借助怡和行在内地的名聲,並更名為怡和洋行。渣甸家族因長期在遠東經商,更有機會接觸後期因戰亂外流而出的宮廷珍品。

    痕都斯坦玉為乾隆帝對伊斯蘭玉器的統稱,因其「瑩薄如紙」、「看去有花葉,撫來無跡痕」而深得乾隆皇帝厚愛,並讚譽其「在手疑無物,定睛知有形」。康熙朝平定西藏後,在邊疆地區多實行藩王制度,需要各附屬國進貢珍玩異寶。乾隆一朝,痕玉被作為進貢給乾隆皇帝的御用玉器,至嘉慶朝便不再進貢,可見其彌足珍貴。

    根據台北故宮博物院鄧淑蘋研究,清宮舊藏一部分痕都斯坦玉器,其特徵及工藝與印度北部痕都斯坦地區所作玉器有所不同,應來自當時的鄂圖曼帝國(今土耳其一帶)。而此件玉盌亦符合斯格爾頓先生及鄧淑蘋所指出的鄂圖曼帝國玉器特點,有關鄂圖曼帝國玉器特點,詳見《越過崑崙山的珍寶:院藏伊斯蘭玉器特展》,台北,2015年,頁159-160。見台北故宮博物院藏鄂圖曼帝國S形雙柄盌一件,其紋飾佈局及雙柄均與此玉盌類似,見同著錄,頁166,圖164。

    鄂圖曼玉更以「薄」為特點。不論紋飾繁複與否,從其光素內壁均可以看清楚外壁雕刻花紋,因此備受乾隆皇帝的讚譽。但正因為其「如履薄冰」,因此這類玉盌上均未見雕刻御製詩。

    更為有趣的是,在眾多讚譽中可看出,乾隆皇帝完全不知道這些最薄的玉器,並非來自他心目中北印度「痕都斯坦」,而是更遙遠的土耳其,見R.Skelton,《Islamic and Mughal Jades》,著錄於R.Keverne編,《Jade》,倫敦1991年,頁291。
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