AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)

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Lot 46
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER
Qianlong

Sold for HK$ 3,502,500 (US$ 450,680) inc. premium
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER
Qianlong
Of horizontal profile, elaborately carved overall from an elongated irregular boulder in relief and deeply undercut to the front and back to form a pavilion set in a garden scene, depicting a young lady from the 'Romance of the Western Chamber', Xixiang Ji, seated by a small table under of the pavilion looking out from a circular window cut through the wall, inside the corridor in the centre of the pavilion furnished with a rolled bamboo curtain and a corner-leg table displayed with books and a brushpot, the other side of the pavilion carved with a female attendant carrying a qin walking in front of an open balustrade window towards the door of the pavilion, all set on top of a flat rugged rockwork base, box.
24cm (9 1/2in) wide. (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 青白玉巧雕《西廂記》人物故事圖廊廡形山子

    Provenance:
    Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2007, lot 828.

    來源:
    香港蘇富比,2007年4月8日,拍品編號828

    The exceptional jade pavilion and lady group can be numbered amongst the rarest jade carvings of its type made during the celebrated Qianlong reign for the Imperial Court. It is exceedingly rare to find a jade carving in three-dimensioned architectural form with naturalistic execution to details, displaying the greatest ingenuity in craftsmanship and design.

    The lustrous pale green jade stone with its irregular shape and a finely polished flat base, suggests it might have been taken from a single jade boulder of much larger size. During the early Qianlong period, when jade stone of superb quality was considered treasured material, jade carvings made for the Imperial Court were created to maximise the use of the entire boulder to waste as little of the precious material as possible, and such practise was highly appreciated by the Qianlong emperor himself, as demonstrated by a closely related white and russet jade 'pavilion and lady' boulder, inscribed with an Imperial poem by the Qianlong emperor in the Palace Museum, Beijing. According to the Imperial poem, it was worked from a jade boulder in which the major part of the material was taken for a jade bowl, while the Qianlong emperor appraised the creativity of its craftsmanship, see zhongguo yuqi quanji, Shijiazhuang, 1991, vol.6, no.277; See also a white jade brush rest in the shape of a bridge, which was possibly carved by using a piece of material left from a larger boulder, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Jade 9: Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, no.71.

    In this instance, the master carver was able to creatively transform a jade boulder that might originally belong to a larger monumental jade stone into a fully three-dimensional work of art.

    The Qianlong emperor advocated that jade carvings should be inspired by classical paintings and jade boulders with a 'pictorial' quality were much preferred by the emperor himself. For a detailed discussion, see Chang Li'tuan, The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Qing Court, Taipei, 1997, pp.15-46. While the design of the 'pavilion and lady' boulder in the Beijing Palace Museum appears to have been inspired by an oil painting mounted on an eight-leave 'coromandel' screen, Kangxi period, in the Palace Museum, Beijing (museum no.228991), the present lot was most likely inspired by the 17th century woodblock print illustration for the Xixiang Ji, the 'Romance of the Western Chamber', illustrated in Xin ke Wei zhongxue xian sheng pi dian xixiang ji (Review for Romance of the Western Chamber by Wei Zhongxue), 1628-1644, Cun cheng tang, vol.1, p.8. The illustration depicts a very similar scene to the present lot of Cui Yingying seated in a pavilion awaiting Zhang Sheng.

    The form of the architecture depicted on the present lot is closely related to the temples and pavilion in the Imperial gardens. Compare the pavilion in Imperial garden depicted in Activities of the 12 Months: The 3rd Month by court painters, Yongzheng, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Friends Through Culture: A Special Exhibition of Paintings on Elegant Gatherings, Taipei, 2019, pp.70-77、276, where the authors note the similar structure of the rooftop and the use of 'lattice windows' under the roof which were commonly used in Imperial gardens.

    義重無棄物,贏他泣楚廷。
    —乾隆

    勢者,乘利而為制也
    —《文心雕龍·定勢》

    青白玉質,取大塊玉料之餘雕桐蔭廊廡一座,廊廡一格兩間, 一間開圓窗,窗內鏤空圓雕一仕女倚桌坐於窗前,桌上雕瓶花一具,仕女髮髻後挽,面帶微笑,身著襦裙,仕女右側鎪出屏風將房間隔出前後,前間雕圍欄亮間,上有捲簾,下有書案,安上雕書籍文房,書案牙條、滌環皆歷歷可見,窗外雕山石梧桐,屏風之後雕邊桌一角,上置果盤,此窗簷出去一條小徑連廊廡另一房間,房前圓雕一侍女抱琴而立欲向房中仕女,侍女身後鎪雕山石一具。

    此山子取材雖為大器之邊角餘料,大小四面,面面成景,玉匠因勢就形,化無用為無窮。穿堂通透,人物陰陽向背皆如實景,為中國玉雕少有的寫實佳作。雖然乾隆以來和闐玉路大開,玉料充足,然而工匠仍然對材料愛惜如金,一邊一角皆為所用。清宮舊藏一件和闐玉桐蔭仕女圖山子便是以碗料餘材巧雕而成,見《中國玉器全集》,石家莊,1991年,卷6,編號277。乾隆鐫詩讚道:「相材取碗料,就質琢圖形。剩水殘山境,桐簷蕉軸庭。女郎相顧問,匠氏運心靈。義重無棄物,贏他泣楚廷。」此贊中「剩水殘山境,桐簷蕉軸庭」亦與本件山子相稱。參看北京故宮博物院藏一件清乾隆白玉雕玉橋形筆架,亦或利用邊角餘料雕刻而成,《故宮博物院藏品大系:玉器編9 清》,北京,2011年,編號71。

    乾隆一朝所作玉雕山子,畫圖多有所本,即所謂「玉圖」。皇帝對於這一類描山繪水充滿畫意的玉雕作品十分稱道,認為「大減俗氣」,他在《題和闐玉孤山圖》中謂:「或琢為山水名勝圖,俗樣為之大減」,又在《詠和闐玉棲霞圖》詩注中說:「知俗樣為所惡,而改圖名勝以希鑑賞」。乾隆帝所惡之俗樣,多指當時流行的鏤空奇巧的作品,他本人所愛實則多為古樸的仿古玉器和充滿丹青意趣的「玉圖」作品,相關討論,見張麗端著,《清乾隆朝「仿古」、「畫意」及「新樣」玉器研究》,載於《宮廷之雅—清代仿古及畫意玉器特展圖錄》,台北,1997年,頁15-46。「玉圖」山子取材或為內廷所藏名畫或為明代以來流行的版畫,如前文提到的桐蔭仕女圖玉雕山子便取材自清宮所藏的油畫《桐蔭仕女圖屏》。

    本件山子畫面取材或以《西廂記》插圖為粉本,可参考刊於天啟、崇禎年間的《新刻魏仲雪先生批點西廂記》中第十一齣「乘夜踰墻」插图,描繪鶯鶯與張生約定夜晚踰墻幽會,鶯鶯在花園中等待張生赴約的場景,見《新刻魏仲雪先生批點西廂記》,17世紀上半葉,存誠堂刊本,上卷,頁8。明代晚期版畫興盛,為中國工藝品提供了大量裝飾題材,背後折射的現象則是市民社會的繁榮和文人的參與。工藝品跳脫了實用價值和單純的炫技,方能成為藝術品,在乾隆眼中即是「脫俗」。晚明以來的藝術積澱貫穿了整個十七世紀,直到乾隆治下的鼎盛時期方才發展出了本朝的風格。

    此件山子題材雖然取材自晚明版畫,然而工藝、意趣卻是乾隆時期的典型代表。山子中所雕兩位人物,一坐一立,頭身比例自然寫實,全無清代早期以前人物比例上重下輕之虞,乾隆御題金廷標畫《摹劉松年宮中行樂圖》中有抱琴男侍,其形態比例可與本件玉雕中的抱琴侍女相參照,見《懷抱古今—乾隆皇帝文化生活藝術》,澳門,2002年,編號108。又,廊廡屋簷雕琢一絲不苟,打磨細膩圓潤,與乾隆宮廷繪畫中的建築如出一轍,頗有宮廷風格,可參考年台北故宮博物院藏藏雍正時期宮廷繪畫《十二月令圖之三月》中的建築,與本件玉雕的建築皆為捲棚式硬山頂,簷下安牖窗,两柱之間起勾欄,為北方皇家園林常見制式,見《以文會友-雅集圖特展》,台北,2019年,頁70-77、276。
Contacts
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)
AN EXTREMELY RARE PALE GREEN JADE 'ROMANCE OF THE WESTERN CHAMBER' OPENWORK BOULDER Qianlong (2)
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