A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period (2)

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Lot 114
A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu
Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period

Refer to department for estimate
A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu
Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period
The globular body finely cast in relief with three elaborate taotie masks above a band of stylised cicada blades, the neck with a symmetrical group of kui-dragons, all reserved against a square-spiral leiwen ground, supported on three sturdy cabriole legs issuing from stylised animal masks, the base bearing the six-character reign mark in relief, with an additional jing zhi (Respectfully Made) horizontal two-character mark on the broad mouth rim, wood stand. 56cm (22in) high (2).

Footnotes

  • 清雍正 銅仿古夔龍獸面紋大朝冠爐
    陽文「大清雍正年製」、「敬製」楷書款

    Provenance:
    A German private collection, Hamburg, acquired at the end of the 19th century, and thence by descent.

    來源:
    德國漢堡私人舊藏,於十九世紀晚期由藏家祖父母獲得,並由家族繼承

    Physically and visually imposing, the present large incense burner represents the apogee and ultimate achievement of Imperial-bronze craftsman during the reign of the Yongzheng emperor. The archaistic form and design exemplify the emperor's personal admiration of and inspiration from antiquity. The combination of the crisply cast archaistic motifs, such as the taotie masks, the cicada blades and the kui-dragons, with the contemporary designs of the strap-handles and imposing mask-form feet, resulted in an arresting statement of the power and grandeur of the Yongzheng era.

    According to Da-Qing Huidian, the largest jurisdictional corpus on administrative matters complied during the Qing dynasty, Imperial Workshops had been set up by the Kangxi emperor with two divisions to produce bronze objects, as exemplified by six Kangxi mark and period bronze objects in the Qing Court Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing. In the fifth year of the Yongzheng reign (1727), a new division recorded as Zhuluzuo, (incense burner cast workshop) was set up in the Palace Workshops, to produce large-size bronze offering objects such as the present strap-handled incense burner. For a detailed discussion by Zhang Li about the production of Imperial bronzes at the Palace Workshops, see 'qinggong tongqi zhizao kao' (Study of the Qing dynasty Imperial Bronze Production: Yongzheng and Qianlong), published in Palace Museum Journal, vol.5, 2013, Beijing, pp.94-133.

    In the Huojidang, the Archives of the Imperial Workshops, bronze incense burners of archaistic style with strap-handles recorded as chaoguanlu, appear to have only been made during the eleventh year of the Yongzheng reign (1733).These include 'two archaistic strap-handled incense burners' ordered on the second day of February; 'eight gilt-bronze strap-handled incense burners with eight incense supporters' ordered on the first day of March, to be presented to the Imperial Ancestral Temple'. The Imperial Archives further record that a wooden model would have to be presented to the Yongzheng emperor for approval to make this type of bronze strap-handled incense burner. See Qinggong Neiwufu Zaobanchu Dangan Zonghui, vol.5, Beijing, pp.834 and 835. It is therefore very likely that the present Yongzheng and Jing Zhi-marked incense burner was commissioned around the same time for an Imperial temple.

    The incense burner was a centrepiece for a five-piece alter set, flanked by a pair of candlesticks and two vases. They would have served practical functions in Imperial temple rituals while appearing highly ornamental at the same time. See an identical Yongzheng incense burner with additional Jing Zhi mark, as part of the five-piece garniture, which was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 26 April 1999, now in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, illustrated by P.K.Hu, Later Chinese Bronzes: The Saint Louis Art Museum and Robert E. Kresko Collections, Saint Louis, 2008, p.157, fig.9. Another full five-piece garniture, Yongzheng mark and period is in the Yonghe Palace, Beijing, known as the Lama Temple. For other Yongzheng and Jing Zhi marked bronze altar wares, see a pair of Imperial baluster temple vases in the Saint Louis Art Museum, illustrated by P.K.Hu, ibid., no.32; and see another illustrated by Sydney L. Moss Ltd., The Second Bronze Age: Later Chinese Metalwork, London, 1991, no.68.

    See also a bronze five-piece garniture, Yongzheng period, in the Buddhist shrine, the Hall of Inherence, Xianruoguan, in the Garden of the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility, Cininggong huayuan, illustrated in Daily Life in the Forbidden City, New York, 1988, pl.467.

    爐身圓形,方口折沿,短頸,鼓腹,朝冠耳,獸蹄形足。爐體與朝冠耳分開鑄造,以榫卯鏈接。爐身滿身以雷紋為地,飾浮雕仿古紋飾。頸部前後飾對稱夔龍紋兩組,上腹部飾三足饕餮紋,對應三足,足牆起線飾獸面紋。爐底鑄方框六字陽文「大清雍正年製」楷書款,爐口沿處有「敬製」楷書款。

    雍正皇帝在藝術審美上的追求「仿古創新」,在皇家御用器方面,無論模仿自古代文物的器形,或是紋飾上融合新舊元素,直接反映出傳統中創新的藝術風格。此朝冠耳爐鑄造精良,器形渾圓端正,為皇宮御製宗教供器之一,與雙瓶及燭台合為佛前五供,陳設於皇家宮殿中的廟堂或佛堂中。

    從《清檔》記錄看,雍正乾隆兩朝,宮廷造辦處對銅器製造的分工已達三十多工種,分工之精細,為打造精緻工藝奠定技術基礎。清代宮廷曾大量製造銅器,根據《欽定大清會典》記載,康熙時期設立武英殿造辦處,下設十四作,其中有「鑄爐處」與「銅鋄作」,但帶康熙官款的銅器目前北京故宮博物院僅存六件。雍正元年至四年只有「銅作」和「鋄作」,主要製造一些如如意、銅爐、文房、佛像等銅器。到雍正五年設「鑄爐作」,專門負責鑄造需要採用失蠟法或翻沙法鑄造的大型器物,此件朝冠耳爐則是其中之一。有關清宮銅器製造的詳細討論,見張麗,「清宮銅器製造考:以雍、乾二朝為例」,刊登於《故宮博物院院刊》,2013年第5期,頁94-133。

    根據《清宮內務府造辦處檔案總匯》的記載,可知此類朝冠耳爐僅在雍正十一年(1733)鑄造,並需先作木樣呈覽,待雍正皇帝準做後,再呈造辦處鑄爐作製作。此件德國漢堡私人舊藏之雍正朝冠耳爐,極有可能是此時期鑄造之一。見《清宮內務府造辦處檔案總匯》5,北京,2005年,頁834及835,摘抄記錄如下:

    二月初二日首領太監夏安來說 宮殿監副侍劉玉傳 著做銅燒古朝冠爐二件...於十三年九月二十日做得...」

    「雍正十一年三月初一日爐作 司庫劉山久來說內大臣海望奉旨:照壇廟內供奉朝冠香爐樣式另做鍍金爐八件,先做樣呈覽,俟準時再做。欽此...於五月二十日據圓明園來帖內稱,做得朝冠香爐木樣一件,司庫常保、首領太監薩木哈呈覽,奉旨:準做。欽此...於九月二十七日做得銅鍍金朝冠爐八座(隨銅鍍金香靠八分、黃紡絲穵單八塊),員外郎滿毗帶領司庫佛保、劉山久、栢唐阿壽山等同太常寺典簿廳廳官舒隆阿請至太廟供奉訖。


    傳世品中,帶有雍正官款及「敬製」款的完整的五供,目前存世僅見一例:現藏於美國明尼阿波利斯美術館,著錄於P.K.Hu,《Later Chinese Bronzes: The Saint Louis Art Museum and Robert E. Kresko Collections》,聖路易斯,2008年,圖9,頁157。其中的朝冠耳爐與本拍品完全一樣,並且配有一如意形香靠,如意頭另見美國聖路易斯美術館藏一對清雍正御製雙環耳夔紋雷紋銅供瓶一對,亦帶有「敬製」款,參看同著錄,編號32。另一件相同的雍正銅供瓶,著錄於Sydney L. Moss Ltd,《The Second Bronze Age: Later Chinese Metalwork》,倫敦,1991年,編號68。另件一組清雍正銅五供,現藏於雍和宮,展出於《慧海瑞相—雍和宮法物法器精品展》。

    朝冠耳爐之器形裡來為宮廷專用,其朝冠耳象徵皇家威嚴,而清宮宗教活動頻繁,加上祭祀天地祖先等,需要大量各式各樣的供器,太廟及奉先殿都有仿製銅五供。另慈寧宮花園咸若館佛堂中,也見有一組清雍正五供,見錄萬依,《清代宮廷生活》,紐約,1988年,圖版467。
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A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period (2)
A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period (2)
A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period (2)
A very rare and large imperial bronze incense burner, chaoguanlu Yongzheng six-character mark and Jing Zhi two-character mark and of the period (2)
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