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An archaistic green jade rectangular incense burner, fang ding, 17th-18th century. Photo courtesy Bonhams.

The stone with some darker inclusions and shaped as an archaistic fang ding vessel embellished with a taotie mask on each side between columns of flanges beneath two loop handles at the lipped rim incised with leiwen scroll, the separately formed slender legs each carved with an archaistic bird's head above a line of leiwen and C-scrolls, fixed wood stand. 22.3cm (8¾in) high. Sold for £27,500 (€32,985)

Provenance: Collection de Madame S., sold at Hotel Drouot, Paris, 20 November 1958, lot 3
A European private collection, no.PD 188.

The present fang ding is carved after an archaic bronze prototype. Compare a related green jade fang ding, Qianlong mark and period, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated by Zheng Xinmiao, ed., Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum - Jade, Qing Dynasty, vol.10, Beijing, 2010, pl.64; and for a yellow jade fang ding and cover, Qing Dynasty, from the National Palace museum, Taipei, see Chang Li-tuan, The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, Taipei, 1997, pl.2, where it is noted that the Qianlong Emperor proposed to 'restore ancient ways', suggesting the jade carvers turn to antiquity for models, enabling to imbue their designs with simplicity and honesty, achieving refinement and elegance. The 'ancient ways' referred to the intrinsic values of sincerity, simplicity, and happy exuberance (see Chang Li-tuan, ibid. p.49.

Bonhams. FINE CHINESE ART. London, New Bond Street. 7 Nov 2013 - www.bonhams.com