Lot 3458. A pale celadon jade raft, Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-1795); 17.7 cm, 7 in. Estimate 400,000 — 600,000 HKD. Lot sold 562,500 HKD (72,456 USD). Courtesy Sotheby's.
worked in the form of a long sampan boat with a curved woven canopy, with a deer and a crane seated recumbent at the prow, the bird clutching a leafy spray of peaches in its beak, at the rear a figure standing in long robes and a straw hat beside a basket of flowers, the hands raised steering a long paddle journeying atop a bed of swirling waves, the stone of an even pale celadon tone, carved wood stand.
Provenance: Collection of Lieutenant Colonel John Grenville Fortescue (1896-1969), Dropmore, Buckinghamshire, and Boconnoc, Cornwall, thence by descent.
John Sparks, c. 1960.
S. Marchant & Son, London.
Exhibited: Ninety Jades for 90 Years, S. Marchant & Son, London, 2015, cat. no. 78.
Note: Sampan were commonly found on lakes and rivers of China in the 18th and 19th centuries, and numerous carvings in jade of these vessels have survived. For similar examples in museum collections, see one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Zhongguo yuqi quanji [Complete collection of Chinese jades], vol. 6, p. 191, no. 274. Compare a related jade boat fitted with a similarly elaborate wood stand of cresting waves in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum, published in James C. Y. Watt, Chinese Jades from the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, 1989, p. 86, cat. no. 64.