A rare rock crystal qilin water dropper and cover with stained ivory stand, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

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Lot 110. A rare rock crystal qilin water dropper and cover with stained ivory stand, Qianlong period (1736-1795). Estimate £30,000 - 50,000 (€39,000 - 65,000). Unsold. Photo Bonhams.

Well carved as a recumbent qilin with two horns and smiling mouth, the circular cover carved as a small qilin reclining on the larger qilin's back, the ivory stand dyed red and expertly carved with three dynamic chilong among clouds. 12.5cm (4 7/8in) long (3). 

NotesHighly regarded as a natural mineral with the 'brilliance of water' and as being 'a beautiful material imported from Persia', rock crystal was associated with 'simple beauty' by the scholarly elites, who fashioned many objects from this material to decorate their studios. 

A rock crystal cup and vase, Qianlong period, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2004, pls.22-23; a brushpot is illustrated in Arts from the Scholar's Studio, Hong Kong, 1986, no.130; and a crystal water container in the form of a wild duck is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Small Refined Articles of the Study, Shenzhen, 2009, p.194, pl.181. See also, a ewer carved as a duck which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2010, lot 1986.

The stained ivory stand is also of exceptional quality and is comparable to the high artistry and skill of a stained ivory ruyi-head cloud stand, Qianlong period, illustrated in Gugong zhenbao, Beijing, 2004, pp.212-213.

Bonhams. AUCTION 23237: FINE CHINESE ART, LONDON, NEW BOND STREET