Lot 234. An Imperial greyish celadon jade seal, Qing dynasty, Guangxu period, Seal of Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908); 14.7 by 7cm., 5 7/8  by 2 ¾ in. Estimate 10,000 — 15,000 GBP. Lot sold 43,750 GBP. © Sotheby's.

of rectangular form, surmounted by a pair of addorsed dragons, each powerfully carved with bulging eyes and nostrils flaring above curling whiskers and clenched mouths bearing sharp fangs, the two scaly bodies tightly intertwined and crouching on the haunches, pierced through the centre with an aperture, the seal face crisply carved with the characters Lijing Xuan yulan (Imperially Appreciated at the Belvedere of Enchanting Scenery), all encircled by a band of phoenix and leafy bamboo, the stone of a greyish celadon tone with milky-white inclusions.

Note: The pair to this seal with the yang (characters in relief) where as this seal is the yin with the characters carved is in the Fitzwilliam museum, Cambridge and is illustrated by James C.S. Lin in The Immortal Stone, Chinese Jades from the Neolithic period to the 20th Century, London, 2009, no. 83 A, B and C.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, London, 14 May 2014