A Magnificent Pair of Imperial Cabinets lead Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Sale

Bonhams Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale in Hong Kong on Tuesday 28 May offers an exceptional range of 84 pieces which largely reflect the luxurious Imperial taste and aesthetic sensibilities at the height of the Qing Dynasty.

These include:

A magnificent pair of Imperial gilt-lacquered zitan-veneered 'Farming And Weaving' display cabinets Jiaqing/Daoguang (1796-1850).. The provenance of the superb cabinets can be traced to a Belgian family who lived in China between the 1920s-1930s. The magnificent pair of display cabinets are known as "Duobao ge" or "multiple treasure cabinets". The Imperial Household Department archives frequently mention the Yongzheng and Qianlong Emperors discussing the design of these type of zitan cabinets. The gilt design on the reverse of the present pair of cabinets is inspired by the album 'Images of Farming and Weaving' by the Kangxi era Court painter Jiao Bingzhen. They include scenes of planting, harvesting, sifting grain and winnowing. This design demonstrates the importance attached to farming and silk production by the elite, and foremost, the Imperial Court, in a physiocratic society. Estimate upon request

A superb Imperial zitan waisted corner-leg table. Qianlong/Jiaqing (1736-1820). This important table was formerly in the important collection of Arthur M. Sackler and was previously with the well-known New York Chinese art dealer Frank Caro. It was exhibited in the Newark Museum in 2005. The exquisite table made from the prized zitan wood, exemplifies the peak of imperial furniture production for the Qing Court. Estimate: HK$3,500,000-4,500,000.

An exceptionally rare pair of Imperial jade gilt-bronze cloisonné and champlevé enamel 'Pagoda' incense holders. Qianlong (1736-1795). The present lot from an Italian private collection 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. Pairs of striking jade incense holders such as these 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. It 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. Estimate: HK$1,500,000 - 2,000,000.

An exceptional rare and large doucai 'Phoenix and Lotus' dish. Qianlong seal mark and of the period (1736-1795).. From a distinguished Middle-Eastern private collection, the massive and exceptionally rare doucai charger was made of scale meant to impress and display the technical virtuosity and abilities of the Imperial kilns, in successfully firing a porcelain vessel of such impressive size, colourfully enamelled with Buddhist and auspicious emblems. Estimate: HK$1,000,000 - 1,500,000.

Jade Carvings

An exceptionally rare white jade mythical bird carving. Han Dynasty. This lot is an exceptional example of an early jade carving representing the pinnacle of Han dynasty jade craftsmanship. This superbly carved bird is remarkable in two aspects: the dynamic design of the bird feeding and carrying its young combined with the attention to naturalistic details in the rendering of the bird. The single-horned mythical bird can be identified as a jiu or turtledove. Estimate: HK$2,500,000 - 3,500,000.

A magnificent and extremely rare jadeite 'longevity' boulder. Qianlong/Jiaqing (1736-1820). The lot is an extraordinary example of an Imperial jadeite carving with the lapidary craftsman's ability to present a three-dimensional sense by using a multi-depth carving technique on a precious jadeite stone of lustrous apple-green tone with a remarkable degree of translucency. Although, according to the Imperial archive, jadeite was presented to the Imperial Court from the Yongzheng period, the precious jewel-like stones were not generally used as materials for carvings until the second half of the Qianlong reign, when they became popular as tribute to the Emperor. Estimate: HK$3,500,000 - 4,500,000.

A very fine Imperial white jade carved 'peach' waterpot. Qianlong (1736-1795).

• From an important private collection, the elegant style and the extraordinarily fluid carving of this waterpot, together with the remarkably even tone of the stone, exemplify much of the celebrated 18th century jade production under the Qianlong emperor.This 'peach' waterpot appears to draw its inspiration from the archaic bronze vessel, yi. During the 18th century the imperial Court was fascinated with archaic objects and many wares were produced in imitation of ancient forms and designs. This trend reflected the emperors' intention of restoring 'the ancient ways' as means to draw the moral righteousness and strength from the examples of the ancients. Estimate: HK$ 1,800,000 - 2,400,000.

Imperial Porcelain

Fine Snuff Bottles from a Distinguished Asian Private Collection

A magnificent white jade 'sage' snuff bottle. 18th/19th century, probably Suzhou School. Estimate: HK$ 300,000 - 500,000

An exceptional emerald-green jadeite snuff bottle. 18th/19th century. Estimate: HK$ 300,000 - 320,000.

A superb and rare seven-colour overlay glass snuff bottle. Imperial, Palace Workshops, Beijing, 18th/19th century. Estimate: HK$ 600,000 - 800,000.


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