Lot 114. A rare and large cloisonné enamel 'lotus-leaf' brush washer, Xi, 18th century; 15 ¾ in. (40 cm.) wide. Estimate GBP 30,000 - GBP 50,000. Price realised GBP 37,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.
The impressive washer is fashioned as a broad, deep lotus leaf with its veins finely and naturalistically detailed in shades of green and russet enamels. The long spiralling gilt-bronze stems form the stand, and bear a further folded leaf, a lotus pod, and a blossoming lotus flower with white petals and pinkish tips; together with Catalogue of the Avery Collection of Ancient Chinese Cloisonnés, Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, New York, 1912.
Provenance: Samuel Putnam Avery (1847- 1920), New York.
Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, accessioned during 1909 and 1910.
Literature: Avery Collection of Ancient Chinese Cloisonnés, Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, New York, 1912, p 67, no. 129.
Exhibited: The Avery Collection of Ancient Chinese Cloisonnes, Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1909-1910.
Note: It is very rare to find a lotus leaf washer in cloisonné enamel and particularly one of this size. Although this subject matter was a popular choice of form for washers of the Qing period, they are more commonly crafted from other materials such as jade and crystal, for example, a jade lotus leaf-form washer sold at Christie’s New York, 19-20 May 2013, lot 1739. For a similar but smaller cloisonné enamel lotus-leaf-form washer (24 cm. wide), see one sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3 June 2015, lot 2916.
A very rare cloisonné enamel lotus-leaf-form washer, Qing dynasty, 18th century; 9 1/2 in. (24 cm.) wide. Sold for 1,480,000 HKD at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3 June 2015, lot 2916. © Christie's Images Ltd 2015.
The washer is naturalistically cast as a broad lotus leaf, its veins finely detailed in green and blue enamels within gilt outlines, with a stalk of lotus bud and lotus pod emerging from the base. The lotus pod is rendered in the form of a water pot with a detachable cover embellished with seeds of the pod, 19th century wood stand.
Note: Although lotus-leaf was a popular choice of form for washers of the Qing period, it is very rare to find them in cloisonne, but more often in other materials such as jade and crystal, as can be exemplified by lot 2928 and lot 2925 in this Catalogue, respectively.
It is very interesting to compare the form of the present washer with metalwork censers of Song dynasty such as the example in the collection of the Nanjing Municipal Museum, which is similarly cast with a lotus pod, lotus flower and leaf all borne on an undulating stem and connected to a long handle.