Lot 136. An exceptional apple-green jadeite 'chrysanthemum' washer, Qianlong-Jiaqing period (1736-1820). Sold for £108,100 (€140,375). Photo: Bonhams.
Exquisitely carved in the form of a chrysanthemum with lobed petals, the interior with a roundel in raised relief of leafy vines bearing three lobed melons and two butterflies, all raised on four short splayed bracket feet, the translucent stone with bright apple-green striations and cloudy inclusions, box. 10cm (4in) diam. (2).
Provenance: a distinguished English private collection, and thence by descent
This lot is accompanied by a certificate from the Gemmological Certification Services dated 1 March 2016
Notes: The exquisite jewel-like washer is exceptional in the quality of the lustrous translucent apple-green tone jadeite stone, visibly demonstrated in the unadorned sides. The masterful carving of the craftsman is evident in the complex auspicious chrysanthemum form, the raised and slightly flared ruyi feet and the crisply carved relief decoration in the interior depicting intertwined leafy melons.
In the centre of the dish is a finely carved melon, or (gua 瓜). Because of the melon's many seeds, it became a symbol of progeny. Together with butterflies (die 蝶), which is a homophone for another type of melon (die 瓞), a rebus is created for 'the blessing of ceaseless generations of sons and grandsons' (guadie mianmian 瓜瓞綿綿). This blessing originates from a line in a poem included in the 'Classic of Poetry' (Shi Jing 詩經), China's most ancient anthology of poetry.
This phrase carried a particularly auspicious meaning during the New Year's Eve ceremony and would have been a suitable imperial gift or special commission. For a related larger chrysanthemum form jadeite dish, dated to the Qianlong period, but with openwork handles, see The Woolf Collection of Chinese Jade, London, 2013, pp.86-87.
Compare with a Qianlong/Jiaqing period jadeite bowl which sold in our rooms, 7 November 2013, lot 159.