EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL 'NINE DRAGON' DISH TOP LOT
At Bonhams Chinese Sale


Fine Chinese Art
8 Nov 2018
London, New Bond Street

EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL 'NINE DRAGON' DISH TOP LOT
At Bonhams Chinese Sale


Fine Chinese Art
8 Nov 2018
London, New Bond Street

EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL 'NINE DRAGON' DISH TOP LOT
At Bonhams Chinese Sale


Fine Chinese Art
8 Nov 2018
London, New Bond Street

The Fine Chinese Art sale to be held in New Bond Street, London on 8 November 2018, during Asian Art Week in London, will include fine and rare ceramics and works of art from many European private collections.

Amongst the highlights of the sale is an exceptionally rare and large Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamel 'nine-dragon' dish, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795), estimated at £400,000 – 600,000 (Lot 153). Only a handful of Qianlong seal mark and period examples of dishes of this impressive size and bold decoration are known to exist in either museum or private collections. This important dish lot encapsulates the exacting and refined taste of the Qianlong Emperor together with the high skill and artistry of the artisans as well as the innovation and imagination of the Imperial kiln supervisors such as Tang Ying (1682-1756) in charge of the Imperial porcelain manufactory in Jingdezhen. With bold and powerful dragons leaping through crashing waves and wispy clouds, the trio of emperor, artisan and official ensured that this impressively large dish would exude Imperial splendour, power and refinement at Imperial banquets or special Imperial celebratory occasions.

A further Imperial vestige of the Qianlong reign period (1736-1795), is an extremely rare Imperial 'Twelve Symbol' Dragon Robe, jifu, estimated at £100,000 – 150,000 (Lot 224). This remarkable Imperial robe boasts important provenance having been acquired in Beijing in 1912 by Brigadier-General Offley Bohun Stovin Fairless Shore (1863-1922). Bohun S.F. Shore attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and entered the army in 1882. In 1884, he was transferred to join the Indian Army in Bengal and served in the 18th (Prince of Wales' Own) Tiwana Lancers Regiment during the First World War.

Blue-ground Imperial robes were only worn by the Emperor twice a year during the performance of ceremonies aimed at invoking rain and good harvest at the Altar of Heaven. The robe is decorated with dragons – symbolising the emperor. Dragons were empowered with extraordinary powers that compared with those of the emperors, embodying royalty and dominion, and when clutching the flaming pearl, expressed the visual metaphor of the good ruler who behaved wisely for the wellbeing of his subjects. It is also decorated with the Twelve Symbols of Imperial Authority, which further reinforced the Emperor's essence over all eloquence, articulation, forcefulness and vigour.

Buddhist art is strongly represented in an early and very rare and large Tibetan parcel-gilt bronze figure of White Tara, dating to circa 12th/ 13th century, estimated at £150,000 – 200,000 (Lot 241). It is exceptionally rare with its sensuously curved body cast in the round, with no opening into the figure from underneath, not only for its aesthetic beauty encapsulating the high level of craftsmanship achieved in 12th/13th century Tibet, but also for exhibiting certain traits before fixed iconographic conventions had emerged. 


NOTES FOR EDITORS

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit bonhams.com.

Contacts
  1. Asaph Hyman
    Specialist
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5888
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5840

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