Lot 3766. A superb oval-shaped tianhuang ‘Mythical Beast’ seal, Qing Dynasty, Yongzheng Period (1723-1735); 7.2 by 4.5 by 2.9 cm, 2 3/4  by 1 3/4  by 1 1/8  in., weight 120 gr. Estimate 2,200,000 — 3,000,000 HKD. Lot Sold 5,680,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby’s.

deftly carved in the form of a mythical beast sitting on its haunches on an oval-sectioned pedestal, the mythical beast depicted with its head powerfully held up above its prominently pronounced taut muscles, its body decorated with stylised wings, all below its long curved striated horns, the stone of a warm amber-honey colour.

Provenance: Collection of Fei Yi Min (1908-88).

Note: This honey-coloured tianhuang seal is exquisitely carved with a ferocious winged beast accentuated with recessed irises dotted in black and a long feathery tail draping over the edge of the stepped base. Despite the polished seal face, the exceptional quality of the carving suggests it was a product of the Palace Workshop from the early Qing dynasty. Two comparable seals of the Yongzheng Emperor, zhao qian xi ti and jing tian zun zu, are preserved in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing. A further tianhuang seal qi li zai cunxin, similarly carved with a recumbent mythical lion, but of the Qianlong Emperor, was sold in these rooms, 25th April 2004, lot 26.

Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong | 08 oct. 2014