An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders Qianlong (2)

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Lot 122
An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders
Qianlong

Sold for HK$ 4,250,625 (US$ 541,498) inc. premium
An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders
Qianlong
Each of a tall hexagonal gilt-bronze, cloisonné and champlevé enamel pagoda-shaped structure supported on a waisted base of conforming shape with a low pierced balustrade enclosing six slender incised gilt-bronze columns, each enclosing a skilfully carved reticulated and multi-layered pale green jade incense holder framed by green jade terminals, the first incense holder carved with three ladies, a female attendant carrying a peach spray and a deer ascending a mountainous range strewn with pine, plantain, cypress, wutong, pagodas and streams, all below cloud scrolls, the other incense holder, similarly carved but with three sages, two male attendants and a crane, all set below a two-tiered sloping roof with gilt-bronze phoenix-head eaves, all below tear-dropped shaped finials. Each 51.7cm (20 3/8in) high (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 銅胎掐絲琺瑯鏤空青玉雕群仙圖香亭一對

    Provenance:
    An Italian private collection

    來源:
    意大利私人收藏

    The present lot is exceptionally rare to have survived in its entirety, as most often the jade incense holders become separated from the original gilt-bronze, cloisonné and champlevé enamel pagoda-shaped structures. Compare, however, three related gilt-bronze, cloisonné enamel and jade incense holders, Qing dynasty, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Jade 8 Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, nos.208, 210 and 211. For related but smaller pale and dark green jade reticulated incense holders, Qing dynasty, but without the structures, from the Qing Court Collection, see ibid., nos.197, 198 (which uses very similar type of jade to the present lot), and 199-207. Such incense holders were also made on larger scale but using only gilt-bronze, cloisonné and champlevé enamel, such as the pair, mid-Qing dynasty, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels 4 Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Beijing, 2011, no.129.

    Pairs of striking jade incense holders set within pagoda structures made of gilt-bronze, cloisonné and champlevé enamel, formed part of the Imperial throne paraphernalia. They would have been placed on either side and in front of the Imperial throne with a dual purpose of displaying the Imperial grandeur, whilst emanating pleasant sandalwood fragrance and forming an invisible sensory screen separating the emperor from his audience. See a related pair of reticulated green jade and gilt-bronze pagoda-shaped incense holders flanking the throne at the Chong Jing Dian ('Hall of Great Reverence') in the Forbidden City, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), Hong Kong, 2002, no.257.

    The present lot is a result of the cooperation of the jade ateliers and cloisonné enamel ateliers, sparing no expense and displaying Imperial craftsmanship at its peak during the celebrated Qianlong reign. The superbly carved and pierced circular jade incense holders exhibit a masterful skill in rendering the varying levels of relief carving to achieve a highly accomplished fluid narrative design mirroring each other; three sages and two male attendants variously carrying peach, lingzhi fungus and lotus are contrasted with three ladies and a female attendant, variously carrying peach and lingzhi fungus; the crane on one is contrasted with the deer on the other - all symbols of long life.

    See a related smaller pair of reticulated square celadon jade parfumiers, Qianlong, without the structure, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2011, lot 3239. See also a related pair of large gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel parfumiers, Qianlong, which were sold at Christie's Paris, 7 December 2007, lot 24.

    兩件香亭頂部帽亭為銅胎掐絲琺瑯,金屬部分鎏金,六角寶珠頂,亭蓋作兩層,一層為寶珠圍欄,面飾如意雲頭紋,下層為鳳首飛簷,鏤空番蓮紋作欄,面飾掐絲琺瑯番蓮紋。底座中部收腰,上層六面圍欄,下層為六角須彌座,飾以掐絲琺瑯花紋及鏨刻鎏金浮雕番蓮紋。亭蓋與底座之間以六根銅鎏金竹節撐之,內嵌鏤空青玉山水人物紋香筒。玉料略留皮色,雕以俊俏山石,挺秀林木,雲生霧靄,掩露亭台樓閣。其中一件香筒山林間雕仙女四位,仙鹿一隻;而另一件則雕仙人三位,童子兩位,仙鶴一隻。香筒兩端再嵌碧玉雕回字紋筒蓋,底部以掐絲琺瑯鏤空蓮花座承之。

    清代宮廷內寶座陳設本有制度,中為寶座,後有屏風,前後兩側立香薰。香薰之設,則有甪端,鼎爐,香亭等式。皇帝升座時則焚香其內,寶座之上由是香繞霧起。清宮檔案稱此類香亭為「垂恩香筒」。可參考紫禁城崇慶殿內寶座兩側陳設的一對銅胎掐絲琺瑯青玉香亭,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集一明清家具》,下卷,香港,2002年,編號257。

    香亭形制頗有制式可循,多為掐絲琺瑯雙層蓋頂承以圍欄須彌座,中間所嵌玉香筒則以各色玉料為之,紋樣多有變化,仍不出龍鳳,山水,仙人等祥瑞題材。北京故宮藏有多件相關例子,茲列三件參考之,一為一對青玉雲龍紋香亭,二為一對青玉錦紋香亭,三為碧玉雲蝠紋香亭,見《故宮博物院藏品大系:玉器篇》,卷八,北京,2011年,頁249至251,編號208至211。香亭所嵌玉雕香筒也多有獨立使用的例子,見前書,編號197,198及199至207,其中編號198之青玉群壽圖香筒所雕紋樣及刀法乃至玉料和本品極似。此外,亦有整體銅胎掐絲琺瑯的香亭,如北京故宮所藏一對清中期掐絲琺瑯鏤空雲龍紋香筒,見《故宮博物院藏品大系:琺瑯器篇》,卷四,北京,2011年,頁181,編號129。

    香港蘇富比售出一對乾隆時期白玉方柱形群仙圖香筒可參考之,2011年4月8日,拍品3239。另可比較一對乾隆銅胎掐絲琺瑯香亭,2007年12月7日售於佳士得巴黎,拍品24。
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An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders Qianlong (2)
An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders Qianlong (2)
An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders Qianlong (2)
An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'pagoda' incense holders Qianlong (2)
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