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Lot 6. Important écran de table en jade vert épinard Dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong (1736-1795), 32,3 x 25,5 cm. Estimation 150,000 — 250,000 € & Lot 9. Important et grand pot à pinceaux en jade vert épinard Dynastie Qing, époque Kangxi-Qianlong (1662-1795); Haut. 17,8 cm, diam. 20,1 cm. Estimation : 300.000-500.000 €. Photo: Sotheby's.

Paris – Sotheby’s France tiendra sa première vente d’Arts d’Asie de l’année le 22 juin. A cette occasion, la maison met un ensemble de jades impériaux à l’honneur, avec la dispersion d’une partie de la prestigieuse collection de Monsieur et Madame Djahanguir Riahi. Ce couple de passionnés chassa sans relâche des jades d’exception, et constitua l’un des plus beaux ensembles dans ce domaine. Onze jades, d’une qualité remarquable, seront ainsi proposés aux amateurs dans un catalogue dédié, aux côtés d’un sceptre impérial inscrit du poème de l’Empereur Qianlong, issu d’une collection particulière française.

Parmi les autres joyaux de la vente, citons une statue tibétaine figurant le Ve Dalaï Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso du XVIIe siècle, une rare boîte en laque sculptée de l’époque Qianlong destinée à recueillir des tablettes mortuaires, ou encore un vase en bronze doré et émaux cloisonnés de la fin du XVIe siècle provenant de diverses collections particulières. 

Paris – Sotheby’s France is holding its first Arts of Asia sale of the year on 22 June. The spotlight will be on a group of imperial jades with the sale of part of the outstanding collection of Mr and Mrs Djahanguir Riahi, refinded collectors who tirelessly sought out exceptional jades and built up one of the finest groups in this field. Eleven works of remarkable quality will be on offer in a dedicated catalogue, alongside an imperial sceptre inscribed with a poem by the Qianlong Emperor from a private French collection.

Other highlights in the sale include a 17th century Tibetan gilt-alloy portrait figure of the great fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, a rare carved cinnabar lacquer box from the Qianlong period designed to hold mortuary tablets, and a late 16th century gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, all from various private owners.

PREMIERE SESSION : JADES IMPERIAUX DE LA COLLECTION MONSIEUR ET MADAME DJAHANGUIR RIAHI ET D’UNE COLLECTION PRIVEE FRANCAISE

Sotheby’s est honorée de mettre en vente la magnifique collection composée de onze importants jades chinois provenant de la collection de Monsieur et de Madame Djahanguir Riahi. Cet ensemble est constitué dès la fin des années 1960, sous l’impulsion de Madame Riahi et de son époux, collectionneur légendaire pour son ensemble de mobilier et d’arts décoratifs français. Monsieur Riahi fut également Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres et un généreux donateur, auquel le Musée du Louvre rendit hommage en lui dédiant une grande salle d’exposition à son nom. Entouré d’objets d’une exceptionnelle beauté, le couple se mit en quête des jades les plus illustres et composa une collection époustouflante.

Cet ensemble de jades sera mis en vente le 22 juin, à l’occasion de la vente d’Arts d’Asie. Un volet de la collection Djahanguir Riahi, composé d’objets d’art décoratifs français et étrangers, sera quant à eux dispersé lors d’une vente spécialement dédiée à Madame Riahi, le 6 juillet prochain, intitulée « Mme Djahanguir Riahi – Les Œuvres que j’ai aimées ».

FIRST SESSION: IMPERIAL JADES FROM THE COLLECTION OF MR AND MRS DJAHANGUIR RIAHI AND A PRIVATE FRENCH COLLECTION

Sotheby’s is honoured to be selling the magnificent collection of eleven outstanding Chinese jades from the collection of Mr and Mrs Djahanguir Riahi. The group was assembled at the end of the 1960s by Mrs Riahi and her husband, a legendary collector of French furniture and decorative arts. Mr Riahi was also a Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres and a generous donor, to whom the Musée du Louvre has paid tribute by naming a large exhibition room after him. The owners of many exceptionally beautiful works, the couple sought out the most prestigious jades and built up an extraordinary collection. 

This collection of jades will be up for sale on 22 June, during the Asian Arts sale. Meanwhile, part of the Djahanguir Riahi collection, consisting of works of art, will be offered at a dedicated auction to Mrs Riahi on 6 July, entitled "Mme Djahanguir Riahi – Les œuvres que j’ai aimées" ("The works I loved").

Parmi ces trésors, deux pièces datant du XVIIIe siècle se distinguent particulièrement. Un magnifique écran de table en jade vert épinard, époque Qianlong (estimation : 150.000-250.000 €). Il illustre un sujet rarement représenté. Archiviste à la cour des Zhou et contemporain de Confucius, Lao Tseu quitte le pays, lassé des dissensions politiques. Il part vers l’ouest, monté sur un buffle. Arrivé à la Porte Han’Gu qui marque la frontière, il rédige le Livre de la Voie et de la Vertu, à la demande du gardien Yin Xi, puis continue son voyage. Ce témoignage écrit serait à l’origine du premier manuscrit du Daodejing, texte sacré à la source du Taoïsme. Cette pièce fit partie de la collection de Robert C. Bruce et fut montrée au public lors de l’Exposition Internationale d’Art Chinois de l’Académie Royale de Londres, en 1935.

Among these treasures, two 18th century pieces stand out in particular. One is a magnificent spinach-green table screen jade, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period (estimate: €150,000-250,000). The subject depicted on this rather large screen is very unusual: Laozi, who is during his emigration to the west and upon reaching the western frontier of the Zhou empire, was held up by Yin Xi, Guardian of the Pass. He was asked to write down his ideas for Yin Xi which resulted in the first written manuscript of the Daode jing, the scripture of the Tao and its virtue, making Yin Xi the first recipient of this text. This jade was part of Robert C. Bruce's collection and was exhibited at the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at the Royal Academy in 1935 in London.

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Lot 6. Important écran de table en jade vert épinard Dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong (1736-1795), 32,3 x 25,5 cm. Estimation 150,000 — 250,000 €. Lot vendu 1,087,500 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

de forme rectangulaire, une face finement sculptée en plusieurs niveaux de reliefs d'une scène animée représentant Yin Xi, gardien de la porte Han'gu qui apparaît derrière lui, accueillant Laozi assis sur une charrue tirée par un buffle et accompagné d'un acolyte, dans un paysage montagneux planté de pins et traversé d'un cours d'eau, sous d'épais nuages, l'autre face au pourtour incisé d'une frise de rinceaux feuillagés, pêches et chauve-souris, la belle pierre vert foncé parsemée de petites inclusions noires et quelques tâches blanches, socle en bois sculpté (2)

AN IMPORTANT SPINACH-GREEN JADE TABLE SCREEN SUPERBLY CARVED WITH LAOZI ENCOUNTERING YIN XI, GUARDIAN OF THE PASS, QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD, 12 3/4  by 10 in.

Provenance: Collection of Robert C. Bruce (1898-1953).
Collection of Mrs. Ian Beattie.
Sotheby's London, 21st November 1961, lot 163.
Spink & Son, London.
Christie’s London, 3rd November 1969, lot 157.
(No. 147 according to the collectors' files).

ExhibitedInternational Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House, London, 28th November 1935 to 7th March 1936no. 2770.

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International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House, London, 28th November 1935 to 7th March 1936, no. 2770

 

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International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts at Burlington House, London, 28th November 1935 to 7th March 1936, no. 2770

LiteratureCatalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-1936, London, 1935-1936, cat. no. 2770.

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Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-1936, London, 1935-1936, cat. no. 2770 © Royal Academy of Arts, London

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Note: The subject depicted on this rather large screen is very unusual. It depicts a scene from the life of philosopher Laozi, who during his emigration to the west and upon reaching the western frontier of the Zhou empire, was held up by Yin Xi, Guardian of the Pass (Guanling Yin Xi). He was asked to write down his ideas for Yin Xi which resulted in the first written manuscript of the Daode jing, the Scripture of the Tao and its Virtue, making Yin Xi the first recipient of this text. 

In subsequent centuries, Yin Xi was known as Wenshi xiangshen, the 'Master at the Beginning of the Scripture', and elevated to the celestial rank of Wushang zhenren, the 'Highest Perfected', reflecting his supernatural stature. According to some versions, Yin Xi became Laozi's disciple, in other versions, he became one of the most prominent immortals, a teacher and master of Laozi's scriptures. He was considered a major hagiographic figure in religious Taoism, for a complete study on Yin Xi, see Livia Kohn, 'Yin Xi: The Master at the Beginning of the Scripture', in Journal of Chinese Religion, Volume 25, 1997, Issue 1, pp. 83-139.  

A green jade boulder with the same subject matter, from the Avery Brundage collection, is illustrated by M. Knight, He Li and T. Tse Bartholomew, Chinese Jades: Ming Dynasty to Early Twentieth Century from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, 2007, pl. 360. For a related subject matter on the reverse of a crane looking up at another in flight, see a white and russet jade circular screen, Qianlong, from the Musée National du Château de Fontainebleau, illustrated by M. Crick, Chine Impériale: Splendeurs de la Dynastie Qing (1644-1911), Geneva, 2014, p.153, pl.68 

Autre objet cher au couple de collectionneurs : un pot à pinceaux en jade vert épinard, époque KangxiQianlong (estimation : 300.000-500.000 €). On y voit le rassemblement de cinq vieillards, dans un paysage reculé. Le sujet célèbre la retraite et l’amitié de cinq octogénaires de la province du Sui-yang, actuelle province du Henan, appelés les « Cinq Vieillards de Sui Yang ». Il fait référence à une célèbre peinture, vers 1050, scindée en cinq parties, réparties dans différents musées à travers le monde. Libérés des contraintes de la vie de Cour, les cinq personnages s’adonnent à la boisson et aux joies de l’oisiveté. Le présent pot, d’une taille tout à fait exceptionnelle (hauteur : 17,8 cm ; diamètre : 20 cm), appartient à un petit groupe de pots à pinceaux réalisés pour la Cour.

A magnificent large spinach-green jade brushpot from the Kangxi/Qianlong period, is carved with ‘The five old Men of Suiyang’ (estimate: €300,000-500,000). The continuous scene around this brushpot shows the gathering of five elderly gentlemen in a secluded landscape. The subject celebrates the retirement and friendship of five respected octogenarians in Suiyang province (present day Henan province), known as the "Five Old Men of Suiyang". It refers to a famous painting around 1050, and later divided in five parts, now in Wesrern museum collections. Free from formalities and restraints of the court, the five men could indulge the joys of life. This exceptionally large pot (height: 17.8 cm; diameter: 20 cm) is one of a small group of brushpots made for the Court

Important et grand pot à pinceaux en jade vert épinard Dynastie Qing, époque Kangxi-Qianlong (1662-1795)

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Lot 9. Important et grand pot à pinceaux en jade vert épinard Dynastie Qing, époque Kangxi-Qianlong (1662-1795); Haut. 17,8 cm, diam. 20,1 cm. Estimation : 300.000-500.000 €. Lot vendu 751,500  EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

de forme cylindrique reposant sur cinq courts pieds arqués, le pourtour finement et richement sculpté en relief d'un paysage aux rochers escarpés, peuplé de pins noueux et de saules, figurant Les Cinq Vieillards de Suiyang, l'un puisant de l'eau dans la rivière, escorté de deux serviteurs tenant un service à thé, l'autre côté planté d'un pavillon abritant un lettré lisant un poème pour trois autres lettrés se promenant à l'extérieur, un serviteur s'approchant pour leur servir le thé, la base sculptée en léger relief imitant une surface rocailleuse, la pierre au doux poli tachetée d'inclusions blanches et noires

A MAGNIFICENT LARGE SPINACH-GREEN JADE BRUSHPOT SKILFULLY CARVED WITH 'THE FIVE OLD MEN OF SUIYANG', QING DYNASTY, KANGXI TO QIANLONG PERIOD, height 7 in. ; diam. 7 7/8  in.

Provenance: Collection of A. Knight, Esq., London.
Christie's London, 21st March 1966, lot 152.
(No. 75 in the collectors' files).

Note: The continuous scene skilyfully carved around the exterior of this brushpot shows the gathering of five elderly gentlemen in a secluded landscape setting. The subject commemorates the retirement and friendship of five respected octogenarians in Sui-yang, present day Henan province, and is known as the 'Five Old Men of Suiyang'. It refers to a painting of the Five Old Men of Suiyang (Suiyang wu lao tu), originally painted around 1050 and later divided into five parts now in Western museum collections. Each features one of these aged honourable scholar-officials including Du Yan, who had attained the rank of prime minister, the highest rank among the five, was just eighty, Zhu Guan, a native of Suiyang, and the Director of the Ministry of War, who was eighty-eight, Bi Shichang, Wang Huan and Feng Ping. Each portrait is followed by numerous admiring inscriptions and poems by notable scholars of the Northern Song period, praising the joys of retirement when, free from the formalities and restraints of the court, these old men could indulge in the joys of life. 

As one of the earliest inscriptions on one of the portrait notes from the painting notes 'now with crane-white hair, all (five elders) feel ready to prepare the Taoist's cap. Suddenly arriving among forests and streams, they are able to let themselves go; having thrown away their hair clasps and sashes, they esteem leisure wandering', see Peter C. Sturman, 'In the Realm of Naturalness: Problems of Self-Imaging by the Northern Song Literati.', in Maxwell K. Hearn and Judith G. Smith, Arts of the Sung and Yuan, New York, 1996, p. 168. 

While the painting adheres in its rendering of the Five Old Men to formal portrait paintings, the same scholars on the present brushpot are shown in a very relaxed and informal way, clearly showing each of them enjoying themselves in different activities. As such, this brushpot is like a long scroll with a narrative enfolding around the sides, showing the five venerable scholars travelling through the countryside, passing a leisurely day of feasting and drinking, enjoying the hidden delights of forests and streams.  

This brushpot belongs to a group of spinach-green jade brushpots of similarly large size, all carved with scholars and immortals in landscape settings, several of these titled and inscribed with a poem by Qianlong emperor. Compare an example carved with the 'Six Old Men in Zhu Xi' (Zhu xi liu yi) (Fig. 1), in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, vol. 42, Jadeware, III, Hong Kong, 1995, pp. 207 and 208, pl. 169, which similarly features one scholar elatedly raising both arms.

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Fig. 1. A spinach-green jade brushpot carved with the 'Six Old Men in Zhu Xi' (Zhu xi liu yi), Qianlong period (1736-1795),  The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, vol. 42, Jadeware, III, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 169 © Palace Museum, Beijing 

Yet another brushpot of even larger size, carved around the body with 'Gathering of Scholars in the Western Garden' (Xi Yuan yaji), was sold at Christie's Paris, 15th December 2010, lot 106. Yet another inscribed example was included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Chinese Government Exhibits for the International Exhibition of Chinese Art in London, vol. IV, Miscellaneous, London, 1936, no. 43. 

Rare et important pot à pinceaux en jade vert épinard sculpté, bitong, Chine, dynastie Qing, XVIIIème-XIXème siècle

Rare et important pot à pinceaux en jade vert épinard sculpté, bitong, Chine, dynastie Qing, XVIIIème-XIXème siècle. Sold EUR 3,313,000 (USD 4,416,397)  at Christie's Paris, 15th December 2010, lot 106Christie's Images Ltd 2010

Ce sceptre en jade céladon pâle inscrit d’un poème impérial, dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong, daté 1773 (estimation : 200.000-300.000 €) clôture la première session. Très rares, les jades d’une teinte aussi claire, et d’une taille si importante, étaient généralement dévolus aux empereurs. C’est le cas du présent sceptre. A son revers, sont gravés les vers de l’empereur Qianlong. Le souverain y loue la beauté de cet objet et la préciosité de son matériau : un jade provenant de la province Hetian, un type très recherché pour sa transparence. Il fait surtout allusion à sa mère l’impératrice douairière, à laquelle ce sceptre est dédié pour ses quatre-vingts ans. Une grue, des pêches et une chauve-souris, autant de symboles d’immortalité et de longévité, sont délicatement sculptés sur le manche. Ce sceptre est issu d’une ancienne collection particulière française. 

The first session closes with an important pale celadon jade sceptre inscribed with an imperial poem from the Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, dated 1773 (estimate: €200,000- 300,000). The present sceptre is exceptional for many reasons. First, iti is a technical feat, requiring a jade boulder or a slab of jade sufficiently large size and even colour to realise such a large object. Jade of such flawless pale, almost white tone was rare and even more difficult to find in a large boulder. The inscription of a poem by the Qianlong emperor on the back of the handle confirms both rarity and outstanding qualities of the jade used for this sceptre while confirming that it was an imperial commission. But above all, he alludes to his mother, the Dowager Empress, to whom this sceptre was dedicated for her eightieth birthday. The cranes of longevity and the peaches of immortality express the wish for long life and longevity. The sceptre comes from a former private French collection.

Important sceptre en jade céladon pâle inscrit d'un poème impérial Dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong, daté 1773

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Lot 12. Important sceptre en jade céladon pâle inscrit d'un poème impérial dédicacé à l’impératrice douairière, Dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong, daté 1773, 39,4 cm. Estimation : 200.000-300.000 €. Lot vendu 1,507,500 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

la tête en forme de ruyi sculptée en léger-relief d'une grue aux ailes déployées descendant d'un ciel parsemé de nuages vaporeux et tenant dans son bec une branche chargée de pêches de longévité, le manche élégamment ondulé et sculpté en haut relief sur le dessus d'une grue se tenant sur une patte au pied d'un arbre aux branches noueuses chargées de pêches, le dos du manche orné dans sa partie haute d'une chauve-souris en vol et délicatement incisé d'un long poème et d'une marque de règne datée du premier mois du printemps de l'an guisi, correspondant à l'an 1773, avec deux sceaux guxiang et taipu, l'extrêmité percée de deux petits orifices accueillant un double pompon en soie embelli de deux perles de corail 

AN IMPORTANT PALE CELADON JADE 'HETIAN PEACH AND CRANE' RUYI SCEPTRE INSCRIBED WITH AN IMPERIAL POEM AND DEDICATED TO THE EMPRESS DOWAGER, DATED TO THE 1ST MONTH OF SPRING OF THE GUISI YEAR OF THE QIANLONG PERIOD (IN ACCORDANCE WITH 1773) ; 15 1/2  in.

Note: The poem may be translated as follows:

'From the Hetian Treasury Storehouse,
this comes as court tribute,
Its creamy material a foot long
and then even more.
Polished into a curved fine jade piece,
it is easy for the hand to hold,
so-called ‘As You Wish'
is a fine name for it.
May the crane of longevity flutter its feathers
for You in the Garden of Repletion,
and the fruiting peaches of immortality
blossom ever again at Jasper Pond.
Great blessings We offer up this New Year
to the Queen Mother of the West
With this poor specimen of such little use
but said to gleam so magnificently.'

Inscribed on a 'Hetian Peach and Crane Ruyi Sceptre', respectfully offered to the Empress Dowager in support of her health and happiness in the New Year.' 

Dated Qianlong guisi mengchun yubi (Inscribed in the Emperor’s Own Hand, dated the first month of spring in the year guisi[23 January – 20 February 1773])

Seals:  Guxiang (Antique Fragrance) and Taipu (Supreme Uncut Jade)

in Yuzhi shiji (Poetry Collection Composed By His Majesty),  Siji (Fourth Collection) Wenyuange Siku quanshu, 9:23a-23b. 

The present sceptre is exceptional for many reasons. Firstly, it is a technical feat, requiring a jade boulder or a slab of jade of sufficiently large size and even colour to realise such a large object. Jade of such flawless pale, almost white tone was rare and even more difficult to find in a large boulder. Hence, by making a large piece of jade into a sceptre, a significant part of this precious material was wasted, implying that jade objects of this size and quality stone such as the present sceptre were made either for the emperor or a high-ranking member of the Imperial family. The inscription on the back of the handle confirms both the rarity and outstanding qualities of the jade used for this sceptre while confirming that it was an Imperial commission.

The inscription is a poem by the Qianlong emperor, its content a eulogy to the jade, the design and the purpose of the object. It clearly states that the jade used for this sceptre came from Hetian, present day Khotan in Xinjiang province. Hetian jade was considered the best quality jade prized for its even colour and translucent quality. It was during the reign of the emperor Qianlong (1736-95) that the Chinese empire expanded into and took control over the western regions of Xinjiang. As a result, sources and supplies of superior quality white and pale celadon jade increased, supplying the court with this rare material. It was prized by the Qianlong emperor whose appreciation of Hetian jades is evident in the prose he composed for objects made of the best quality Hetian jade.

In his poem on this sceptre, the Qianlong emperor also refers to the highly auspicious design on the handle and ruyi-shaped head of the sceptre. The ‘cranes of longevity’ and the ‘peaches of immortality’ express the wish for long life and longevity. Moreover, he alludes to the gardens of the fabled Queen Mother of the West, guardian of the Western paradise where she was believed to preside over the secret of immortality. As a final honour, the emperor bestowed upon the piece the title 'Hetian Peach and Crane Ruyi Sceptre', a rare sign of his appreciation. 

There are very few jade pieces bearing an Imperial inscription which explicitly notes the outstanding qualities of the precious jade which, like the jade for this sceptre, was sourced in Hetian. At least six large ruyi-sceptres skilfully carved of the same creamy and softly gleaming pale celadon or white stone in the collections of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, and the Palace Museum, Beijing, are similarly inscribed with poems composed by the Qianlong emperor, compare Auspicious Ju-i Scepters of China, Taipei, 1995, cat. nos. 12-15 and pp. 217-220, and The World rejoices as One. Celebrating Imperial Birthdays in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2015, cat. nos. 39 and 40. What distinguishes this particular jade sceptre is that was designed and decorated for a specific purpose. In the poem incised on the back of the handle, the Qianlong emperor states that this sceptre was an offering to his mother, the Empress dowager Chongqing (1693-1777), on her 82nd birthday in 1773, to wish her health and happiness in the New Year. The emperor's birthdays were one of the three major court festivals that were accompanied by splendid ceremonies to mark the occasion. The 60th, 70th and 80th birthday celebrations of the Qianlong and Jiaqing emperors as well as that of the empress dowager Chongqing were known as the Grand Ceremony of Vast Longevity (Wanshou shengdian). Officials, merchants, foreign tributaries came to the capital for this occasion from every corner of the empire and beyond, exchanging lavish gifts, sharing blessings and praying for the emperor's and the empress dowager's longevity, see Shan Jixiang, The World Rejoices as One. Celebrating Imperial Birthdays in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2015, pp. 2-3. Among gifts were numerous objects that were reflected the Vast Longevity theme, either in their shapes, materials and designs, but also inscriptions. The present sceptre is unique as the inscription clearly indicates that it may have been one of the Imperial gifts from the emperor to his mother, the empress dowager Chongqing.  

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 Image of the Empress Dowager Chongqing at the age of eighty. The World Rejoices as One. Celebrating Imperial Birthdays in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2015, cat. No.  © Palace Museum, Beijing

SECONDE ET TROISIÈME SESSION : DIVERS OBJETS PROVENANT DE COLLECTIONS PARTICULIÈRES EUROPÉENNES

Un sceau en jade céladon pâle, dynastie Qing, première moitié du XVIIIe siècle (estimation : 50.000-70.000 €) séduira les amateurs par sa délicatesse. Sur sa base sont gravés les mots suivants : « Loyauté, Piété filiale, Dignité, Droiture, guident l’humanité dans tous ses actes. » Un dragon chilong et son petit sont sculptés sur le sommet. Cette pièce est à rapprocher d’autres sceaux impériaux vendus chez Sotheby’s à Hong Kong en 2008, 2013 et 2015. Elle est pourvue des mêmes qualités esthétiques. 

This pale celadon Qing seal from the first half of the 17th century (estimate: €50,000-70,000) will surprise by its delicacy. Its base is carved with nine characters: "Loyalty, Filial Piety, Dignity and Righteousness, guide people in all their behaviours." The seal depicts in an archaic style a chilong dragon and its cub. This piece is similar to other rare imperial seals sold at Sotheby's in Hong Kong in 2008, 2013 and 2015, and has the same aesthetic qualities.

Sceau en jade céladon pâle Dynastie Qing, première moitié du XVIIIE siècle

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 Lot 130. Sceau en jade céladon pâle, Dynastie Qing, première moitié du XVIIIe siècle, 5 x 5,9 x 5,7 cm. Estimation : 50.000-70.000 €. Lot vendu 100,000 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

de forme carrée, le dessus puissamment sculpté de deux chilong sinueux affrontés, le dessous incisé de neuf caractères archaïsants Zhong Xiao Jie Yi Baixing zhi guanmian, la pierre au doux poli et d'une couleur céladon pâle uniforme avec quelques légères inclusions noires au dessous.

A RARE PALE CELADON JADE SEAL, QING DYNASTY, FIRST HALF OF THE 18TH CENTURY, 2 by 2 1/4  by 2 1/4  in.

Provenance: Formerly in a French private collection (by repute).

Note: The base of this pale celadon jade seal is carved with nine characters which may be translated as follows: 'Loyalty, Filial Piety, Dignity, Righteousness, guide people in all their behaviors' (Fig. 1).

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Our seal depicts in an archaic style a chilong dragon and its cub. Delicately modelled in the round, the detailed and sinuous forms of these mythical creatures contrast with the angularity of the seal. However, this is a common shape for knobs of imperial seals since the First Emperor's Seal of Transmission of the Realm.

We can compare the shape and composition of our seal to the rare Imperial white jade ‘Yongzheng Yubi Zhi Bao’ seal sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 7th April 2015, lot 102, which depicts as well a square form seal with thick sides surmounted by a ferocious chilong with a well-defined muscular body and brushy tail but surrounded with 8 smaller chilong (Fig. 2).

An Imperial white jade Yongzheng Yubi Zhi Bao seal, Qing Dynasty, Yongzheng Period

 

Fig. . An Imperial white jade Yongzheng Yubi Zhi Bao seal, Qing Dynasty, Yongzheng Period, 7.4 by 6.1 by 6.1 cm. Sold 104,920,000 HKD at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 7th April 2015, lot 102. Photo: Sotheby's

We can also correlate our seal shape to the Imperial white jade ‘Xiumu Jiayin’ seal, Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing period, of slightly bigger size, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8th October 2013, lot 3071. The chilong and its cub are powerfully carved in the same face to face position, on a very similar square base (Fig. 3).

An Imperial white jade Xiumu Jiayin seal Qing Dynasty, Jiaqing Period

Without a doubt, our seal has all the esthetical criteria and this smooth and powerful carving to be compared in quality and appearance with the Imperial seals described above.

La vente comprend également une statuette tibétaine de Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, le Ve Dalaï Lama, en alliage de cuivre doré, datant du XVIIe siècle (estimation : 30.000-50.000 €). Ce Ve Dalaï Lama est une figure fondatrice de l’histoire politique et religieuse du Tibet. Il fut le premier à impulser l’idée d’un leader à la fois spirituel et séculier, au centre d’un Tibet unifié. Il fit bâtir le palais Potala et un temple privé, le Lukhang, et contribua à faire disparaître l’hégémonie d’une armée aristocratique. Cette élégante statuette rend hommage à cet illustre leader dont le regard et la corpulence sont exaltés par une ciselure d’une grande finesse.

The sale also includes a Tibetan gilt copper-alloy figure of the fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, dating from the 17th century (estimate: €30,000-50,000). The fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) was one of the most significant figures in Tibetan political and religious history. He was the first to assume both spiritual and secular leadership within a newly unified Central Tibet. He built the Potala palace and a private meditation temple, the Lukhang. He is also credited with engineering the demise of the aristocratic hegemony by forcing their residency in Lhasa and bestowing key political positions upon them. This elegant gilt-bronze figure presents a compelling portrait of the celebrated seventeenth century Tibetan leader.

Rare statuette de Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, le Ve Dalai Lama, en alliage de cuivre doré Tibet, XVIIE siècle

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 Lot 117. Rare statuette de Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, le Ve Dalai Lama, en alliage de cuivre doré, Tibet, XVIIE siècle, 12,8 cm. Estimation : 30.000-50.000 €. Lot vendu 68,750 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

assis en vajraparyankasana sur un double coussin brodé de fleurettes stylisées dans des frises losangiques ou polylobées et recouvert d'un textile à décor de fines fleurettes et bordé d'une frise de vajra, la main droite en varada mudra et la main gauche en kartari mudra tenant une tige de lotus fleurie, vêtu d'une longue et riche robe monastique finement plissée décorée sur sa bordure de larges fleurs épanouies, le visage caractéristique de forme ovale et aux yeux grands ouverts, les cheveux rasés, le crâne dégarni et les oreilles décollées, inscription au dos sur deux lignes en tibétain dans une réserve polylobée, la base re-scellée d'une plaque incisée et dorée d'un double vajra dans un double cercle au centre 

A RARE GILT COPPER-ALLOY PORTRAIT FIGURE OF NGAWANG LOBSANG GYATSO, THE FIFTH DALAI LAMA, TIBET, 17TH CENTURY, 5 in.

Note: The inscription on the back of the cushion-shaped base may be translated as

'Homage to the Omniscient One Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. Sarva Mangalam'

It identifies this figure as the fifth Dalai Lama Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso (1617-1682), one of the most significant figures in Tibetan political and religious history. Renowned as 'The Great Fifth' for his skills as a diplomat and politician, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso was the first Dalai Lama to assume both spiritual and secular leadership within a newly unified Central Tibet. He commissioned the construction of the Potala palace, his headquarters and monastery, and the Lukhang, his private meditation temple built within a man-made lake. He also is credited with engineering the demise of the aristocratic military hegemony by forcing their residency in Lhasa and bestowing key political positions upon them. Thus power was centralized in the capital under the direct auspices of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, establishing the dynastic government that survived in Tibet until 1959, see Martin Brauen, The Dalai Lamas: A Visual History, Chicago, 2005, pp. 64.

This elegant gilt-bronze figure of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama presents a compelling portrait of the celebrated seventeenth century Tibetan leader. Great attention has been given to this portrait, the distinctly recognisable face with wide eyes and a receding hairline, as well as the imposing girth of his figure. This portrait may be related compared to a bronze sculpture of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso in a similar seated position but with different mudra in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (acc. no. 50.3606), and to another gilt-bronze portrait of Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, from the collection of Markus Speidel, Birmensdorf, and also to the one from the Tibet House, New York (no. inv.: 1971.267), all illustrated in Martin Brauen, Les Dalaï Lama, Lausanne, 2005, pp. 86-87. Compare also with another gilt-copper alloy portrait figure of the Fifth Dalai Lama, sold at Sotheby's New York, 13th September 2016, lot 161.

A gilt-bronze portrait figure dépicting Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, Dalai Lama V, Central Tibet, 17th century

A gilt-bronze portrait figure dépicting  Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso, Dalai Lama V, Central Tibet, 17th century, 15 cm. Sold 1,510,000 USD at Sotheby's New York, 13th September 2016, lot 161. Photo: Sotheby's.

Une rare boîte en laque sculptée, de la dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong (estimation : 15.000-25.000 €) surprendra par la qualité de son décor. La fonction exacte de ces boîtes est auréolée de mystère, toutefois l’hypothèse la plus pertinente voudrait que ces réceptacles fussent destinés aux tablettes spirituelles des défunts. Même si notre pièce ne porte aucune inscription particulière, il y a fort à parier qu’elle fut créée pour l’un des membres de la famille impériale. Sa surface, finement sculptée, narre de façon virtuose un épisode de la vie du Bouddha Shakyamuni prêchant face à ses disciples, spectaculaire galerie de personnages en trois dimensions, dont on retrouve un exemplaire analogue portant la marque Qianlong conservé au Victoria & Albert Museum. 

A cinnabar lacquer spirit tablet from the Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (estimate: €15,000-25,000) is superbly carved with great detail. It represents a scene from the life of Buddha Shakyamuni preaching to his Buddhist disciples. While the exact function of these rare boxes is not known, it has been suggested that they may have been designed and decorated to contain the spirit tablet of a deceased. While the present box is not inscribed, we may assume that it may ahave been made for use by the Qianlong emperor or high-ranking member of the Imperial family as the quality of the carving is identical to the two boxes in the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Palace Museum.

Rare boîte en laque sculptée Dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong

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Lot 122. Rare boîte en laque sculptée, Dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong, 36,9 cm. Estimation : 15.000-25.000 €. Lot vendu 571,500 Photo: Sotheby's. 

de forme rectangulaire, la partie frontale, coulissant vers le haut, finement sculpté d'une assemblée composée de saints bouddhistes et de lokapala, présidée par Maitreya, les côtés latéraux et le dessus à décor de dragons à cinq griffes parmi les nuages, la double base lotiforme séparée par un frise de chevrons et soulignée d'une frise de leiwen, l'intérieur, le dessous et le dos laqués noir (2)

A very rare superbly carved cinnabar lacquer 'Soul tablet' box and cover, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795) ; 14 1/2  in.

Note: The image skillfully carved with great detail on the cover of the present box represents a scene from the life of Buddha Shakyamuni preaching to his Buddhist disciples including the 500 luohan, the four heavenly guardians and numerous guanyin (Shijia mouni fo shuofa tu). A subject that is rarely depicted on three-dimensional objects, it is nevertheless known from carved cinnabar lacquer boxes and covers of similar shape and design with a sliding cover such as an almost identical example formerly in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Palmer, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated in R. Soame Jenyns and William Watson, Chinese Art. The Minor Arts, vol. II, New York, 1963, pp. 354-355, no. 167, and a box in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 2006, cat. no. 24. A cover of such another box decorated with the same subject, was sold at Koller Zurich, 18th September 2010, lot 275.

 While the exact function of these rare boxes is not known, it has been suggested that they may have been designed and decorated to contain the spirit tablet of a deceased, a practice whereby the name of the deceased was recorded on a spirit tablet which were then kept in boxes of similar shape in temples, taken out to receive prayers and offerings at suitable festivals, compare Jenyns and Watson, ibid., pl. 355. The box now in the Victoria and Albert Museum is inscribed and dedicated to the Qianlong emperor, the box in the National Palace Museum is similarly inscribed with the Qianlong emperor's name. While the present box is not inscribed, we may assume that it too may have been made for use by the Qianlong emperor or a high-ranking member of the Imperial family as the quality of the carving is identical to the two boxes referred to and the sides are decorated with 5-clawed dragons. 

Ce vase en bronze doré et émaux cloisonnés, de la dynastie Ming, fin du XVIe siècle (estimation : 30.000-50.000 €) se distingue par la rareté de sa forme. Seuls quelques modèles de ce type sont connus et conservés dans des collections muséales.

This late 16th century gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase from the Ming dynasty (estimate: €30,000- 50,000) is remarkable for the rarity of its shape, which is derived from a Tibetan kalasha vase. Rare few examples are known in private and museum collections.

Rare vase en bronze doré et émaux cloisonnés, Dynastie Ming, fin du XVIe siècle

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Lot 141. Rare vase en bronze doré et émaux cloisonnés, Dynastie Ming, fin du XVIe siècle, 23 cm. Estimation : 30.000-50.000 €. Lot vendu 463,500 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

de forme ovoide, le pourtour décoré de huit lions bouddhistes jouant avec des pelotes de laine, autour d'un vase archaïsant et de lotus stylisés, le tout sur un fond turquoise, les anses à décor de dragons sinueux en bronze doré la gueule béante, le col tronconique à décor de lotus stylisés décoré à la base d'une frise en relief de pétales et orné en son centre d'un anneau bombé à décor incisé de rinceaux feuillagés, l'extrêmité du col terminé par une protubérance circulaire décorée d'une frise de fleurettes et le dessus en bronze doré incisé d'une frise de lotus, le pied arrondi en bronze doré incisé d'une frise feuillagée, le dessous figurant une large fleur épanouie

A RARE GILT-BRONZE AND CLOISONNÉ ENAMEL VASE, MING DYNASTY, LATE 16TH CENTURY, 9 in.

Provenance: Acquired by the grandfather of the current owner in France in the early 1900s.
Thence in the family by descent.

Note: Vases of this particular shape, which is believed to have been derived from a Tibetan kalasha vase, are rare and few examples are known in private and museum collections. The earliest recorded example of a cloisonné enamel vase of this form dated to the 15th century and decorated around the body with large lotus flowers, is in the Uldry Collection, Geneva, illustrated in Helmut Brinker and Albert Lutz, Chinese Cloisonne. The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, col. pl. 9. Two other vases of this form but slightly smaller than the present example, one similarly decorated around the body with small lion-dogs, the other with rows of scrolling lotus flowers, both similarly applied with gilt-bronze dragon handles, are in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, Hong Kong, 2002, pls. 35 and 37. Unlike the present vase, the second example has a gilt-metal base chased with a Jingtai mark and dated to the mid-Ming period. Finally, for vase of the same form but decorated with painted enamels and bearing a Yongzheng mark, see Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, Taipei, 1989, cat. no. 98. 

The design of lion dogs playfully engaging with each other is also unusual and can be found on a few rare examples dated to the mid-Ming Dynasty, among others on a rectangular tray, a cuspidor-shaped jar and a tripod censer, illustrated ibid., pls. 21, 39 and 41. 

Enfin, signalons un pot à pinceaux, en bambou sculpté, dynastie Qing, époque Kangxi (estimation : 30.000-50.000 €). Finement ouvragé, il évoque les pièces réalisées par le célèbre sculpteur de bambou Gu Jue. Ce dernier fut l’un des plus célèbres graveurs de l’époque Kangxi, réputé pour la délicatesse de ses silhouettes immortalisées dans des paysages reproduits avec virtuosité. 

Lastly, we find a carved bamboo brushpot from the Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (estimate: €30,000-50,000). This well-carved work may be compared to works attributed to the famous bamboo carver, Gu Jue. He was one of the most celebrated engravers of the Kangxi period, who was known for his finely detailed scenes of figures in landscapes.

Rare pot à pinceaux en bambou sculpté Dynastie Qing, époque Kangxi

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Lot 153. Rare pot à pinceaux en bambou sculpté, Dynastie Qing, époque Kangxi, Haut. 14,2 cm. Estimation : 30.000-50.000 €. Lot vendu 56,250 EUR. Photo: Sotheby's.

de forme ovale, le pourtour finement sculpté sur plusieurs niveaux d'une scène continue représentant les Huit Immortels traversant la mer sur une barque, chacun tenant ses attributs, leurs gestes et leur physionomie représentés, dans un paysage aux rochers escarpés peuplés de pins noueux et de ravins parmi lesquels évoluent deux cervidés, les flots déchainés écumants se brisant sur le radeau, la patine d'une belle couleur brune satinée, le col et le pied montés en huanghuali

A RARE WELL-CARVED BAMBOO BRUSHPOT CARVED WITH THE EIGHT IMMORTALS IN A RAFT, QING DYNASTY, KANGXI PERIOD, 5 1/2  in. 

Note: This well-carved brushpot may be compared to works attributed to the famous bamboo carver Gu Jue, a native of Jiading in Jiangsu province, and one of the most celebrated carvers of the Kangxi period who was known for his finely detailed scenes of figures in landscapes, his technique often combining high-relief with shallow carving and precise details. Such was the fastidiousness of his discipline that he was known to take up to a year to complete one piece, demonstrating his acute observation and understanding of nature beyond woodblock prints and paintings from which many of the decorative motifs found on bamboo carvings often derived.

This brushpot illustrates the Eight Daoist Immortals crossing the rough seas after attending the Peach Festival in the Western Paradise of the Queen Mother of the West. Combining their strengths, they were able to safely make it through the tempest, showing that obstacles can be overcome. 

Works signed by or attributed to Gu Jue are rare.  Compare an example from the Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection in the Seattle Art Museum, illustrated in Ip Yee and Laurence C. S. Tam, Chinese Bamboo CarvingPart I, Hong Kong, 1978, col. pl. 50. A smaller bamboo brushpot carved with a landscape and signed Gu Zhongyu, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Bamboo, Wood, Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn Carving, Hong Kong, 2002, pl. 39.

Vente jeudi 22 juin 2017 - Trois sessions à 10h30, 11h et 14h30 - Exposition du 17 au 21 juin

Auction: Thursday 22 June 2017 - Three sessions at 10.30 and 11.00 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. - Exhibition: 17 to 21 June