A magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period

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

Lot 37
A magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft
Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period

Sold for HK$ 7,540,000 (US$ 960,539) inc. premium
A magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft
Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period
Exquisitely carved in high relief and openwork as a naturalistic long gnarled tree raft with arching branches, bearing Zhang Qian seated leisurely at the centre with one hand holding a book and the other arm resting on a twig, below intricately gnarled branches suspending a double-gourd, the mark incised at the back of the raft, the smoothly polished stone of very fine even white tone. 23.5cm (9 1/4in) long

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 御製白玉雕張騫乘槎
    陰刻「乾隆年製」隸書款

    Provenance:
    A distinguished European private collection, acquired by the grandparents of the present owner, and thence by descent

    來源:
    顯赫歐洲私人收藏,由現藏家祖父母獲得並由其家族繼承

    The present lot would appear to be amongst the finest of its type, exhibiting exquisite craftsmanship in the all-round naturalistic execution of the gnarled raft, beautifully capturing the figure of the Han dynasty Imperial envoy and official, Zhang Qian, and displaying whimsical creativity in the depiction of the double-gourd hanging off one of the branches.

    The superb quality of the lustrous white jade stone, exquisite carving and noteworthy size, as well as the subject matter, more often seen in rhinoceros horn pouring vessels but rarely in jade, are all a testament to the craftsmanship achieved in the jade ateliers at the height of the celebrated Qianlong reign. Typical to Imperial works of art, in addition to the incised Qianlong reign mark at the back of the raft, the present carving used to have a superbly carved stained ivory stand, incised with the character bing, associated with an Imperial numbering system.

    The subject matter of Zhang Qian on a raft, may have been inspired by the well-known silver example, formerly in the collection of Lady David, inscribed with a poem and artist's seal Bishan denoting Zhu Bishan, a silversmith active during the 14th century, illustrated in Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), Cleveland, 1968, no.37. This example may have also inspired the group of rhinoceros horn raft pouring vessels, in the Imperial collections: see one from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the exhibition Jiangxin yu xiangong. Ming Qing diaoke zhan (Uncanny Ingenuity and Celestial Feats: The Carvings of Ming and Qing Dynasties), Taipei, 2011, no.30; and three further rhinoceros horn examples, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carvings, Hong Kong, 2002, nos.118-120.

    The subject matter was also clearly favoured by the Yongzheng emperor himself, who instructed Court artists to create paintings depicting him in various guises. See a painting from the Qing Court Collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, depicting the Yongzheng emperor on a raft as an immortal, illustrated in Harmony and Integrity: The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times, Taipei, 2009, p.147, pl.I-76.

    Compare a related white jade carving of a lady on a raft, Qianlong (15cm long), from the Yuanmingyuan, in the Musée National du Château de Fontainbleau, illustrated by Tsao Huei-chung, Jade: From Emperors to Art Deco, Paris, 2017, no.190.

    See a related pale green-white jade raft group, 18th century, which was sold at Christie's New York, 15 September 2011, lot 1035.

    白玉略泛灰,玉質瑩潤。槎周身作桧柏紋理,形如老樹槎椏,木槎上張騫雙目半開,長須垂胸,長袍寬衣,右手持書卷,左手倚靠木槎,兩腿自然彎曲,一派悠閒神情,自在臥坐於槎。槎尾隨形而上翹,末端樹枝上掛一葫蘆,木槎雕刻細緻,癭節紋路逐一表現,工藝考究。

    此玉雕擺件從選料、題材、工藝各方面都非常考究。以「張騫乘槎」為主題的雕刻,圖案複雜,對工匠的雕刻技藝有超高的要求,因此多見於犀角雕或其他硬度較低的材質,而玉雕之例則寥寥無幾。此擺件取上等玉料,集不同雕刻技藝,再以像生之法,結合繪畫審美雕刻而成,為康乾盛世下宮廷玉雕昌盛發展背景下的代表之作。此類宮廷陳設器物在宮中陳列時通常都配有造辦處所製作象牙或紫檀座,此件玉雕張騫乘槎原本亦配有象牙座,座上刻有「丙」字千字文。

    張騫為西漢時期的旅行家、外交家及探險家。漢武帝時期,便有張騫出使西域的事蹟。張騫乘槎尋河源的典故在元代朱碧山所製的銀槎杯上已有呈現,見《Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368)》,克利夫蘭,1968年,圖37。明末清初的犀角雕刻中亦有採用此題材的例子,如台北國立故宮博物院藏一例,見《匠心與仙工:明清雕刻展》,台北,2011年,圖30。北京故宮博物院清宮舊藏三件犀角雕張騫乘槎,見《故宮博物院珍藏文物珍品全集:竹木牙角雕刻》,香港,2002年,圖118-120。

    清代滿人入關後,帝王亦對此類題材頗有興趣。如北京故宮博物院清宮舊藏清代「胤禎行樂圖·乘槎升仙頁」,途中雍正亦自己描繪成仙道,乘槎仙遊,其構圖主題,均與此件玉雕類似。見《雍正:清世宗文物大展》,台北,2009年,頁147,圖版I-76。

    法國巴黎楓丹白露宮中藏有一件清乾隆白玉雕仕女乘槎,為圓明園舊藏,其工藝及造型可資比較,見Tsao Huei-chung著,《Jade: From Emperors to Art Deco》,巴黎,2017年,圖190。

    另見紐約佳士得曾售出一例十八世紀青白玉雕槎,2011年9月15日,拍品編號1035。
Contacts
A magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft Incised Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A magnificent Imperial white jade carving of Zhang Qian on a raft Incised Qianlong 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 and Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% up to HK$200,000 of the Hammer Price
26% from HK$200,001 to HK$7,500,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from HK$7,500,001 to HK$50,000,000 of the Hammer Price
14.5% over HK$50,000,000 of the Hammer Price.

Shipping Notices

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

App