Lot 3042. A finely carved white jade circular table screen, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795); diameter 21 cm., 8 1/4 in. Estimate 2,500,000 — 3,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 3,880,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2013.
of circular form and slightly concave section, finely carved on the domed side with a scene depicting two scholars conversing outside a pavilion in a rocky garden shaded by pine and wutong, with two attendants carrying flowers approaching from the sides, the scene further framed by rocks and clouds, the reverse centred with a pair of cranes standing in the shallows of a river, with lofty pine trees growing above and a wutong tree overhanging the stream below, all within rocks and clouds around the edge, the softly polished stone of even milky-white colour, on a wood stand carved in openwork with two conjoined phoenix and a reticulated lotus-scroll base
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 16th November 1989, lot 640.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 9th October 2007, lot 1579.
Note: Screens such as the present piece were seldom created before the Qianlong period due to the rarity of large flawless pieces of jade. Such screens were fashioned from carefully chosen highly-translucent stones, which would enhance the differing depths of the carved pictorial scene. The particular challenge presented to carvers of jade table screens was to compose two different designs for each side that would not interfere with but rather enhance the other when light was shone through. Thus the viewer could easily be transported into the tranquil and inviting landscapes such as the present.
The Qianlong Emperor advocated that jade mountains and carved panels should carry the spirit of paintings by famous past masters. It is recorded that a number of classical paintings from the emperor's own collection were ordered to be reproduced in jade, such as the celebrated painting Travellers in the Mountains, by the eminent Five Dynasties painter Guan Tong (907-960). The sense of harmony between the figures and the vast landscape in this panel is a good example of the type of carving the Qianlong Emperor envisioned.
Two related screens from the De An Tang collection were included in the exhibition, A Romance of Jade from the De An Tang Collection, Palace Museum, Beijing, 2004, cat. nos. 25 and 26; and a pair, one from the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, and the other from the Frederick Knight collection, illustrated in Robert Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 123, was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27th November 2007, lot 27th November 2007, lot 1511.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Hong Kong, 08 oct. 2013