Lot 3613. A finely carved white jade square zhadou, Qing dynasty, 18th century; 8.8 cm., 3 3/8  in. Estimate 1,200,000 — 1,500,000  HKDLot sold 2,000,000 HKD. © Sotheby's

of archaistic form, the shallow oval-shaped bowl with sturdy sides rising from a short foot, the main sides flanked by a pair of elongated 'C'-shaped 'ear' handles extending just below the mouthrim, the lustrous stone of a warm translucent yellow colour.

NoteThis piece is remarkable for the luminous colour of the stone, which has been skillfully finished to a lustrous polish. The craftsman has chosen to omit surface decoration in order to draw further attention to the high quality of the jade stone. Zhadou, or leys jars, appear to derive from archaic bronze wine vessels, zun, produced during the late Shang (c. 1600-1050 BC) and early Western Zhou (c. 1050-771 BC) period. The original beaker form evolved over the centuries, as seen in the wider flaring mouth and more compressed body.

Zhadou of square form and undecorated are unusual and are more commonly known carved with archaistic motifs, such as one sold in our New York rooms, 27th February 1981, lot 427. Compare also a zhadou of globular shape in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, illustrated in James C.S. Lin, The Immortal Stone. Chinese Jades from the Neolithic Period to the Twentieth Century, London, 2009, pl. 62; another, in the Wideland collection, included in the Min Chiu Society exhibition Chinese Jade Carving, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1983, cat. no. 222; and two in the Palace Museum, Beijing, the first carved with dragon roundels, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 194, and the second, with taotie, published in the Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum. Jade, vol. 10, Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pl. 208.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Works of Art, Hong Kong, 07 april 2015