Lot 1522. A rare imperial white jade archaistic faceted pear-shaped vase, fanghu, Qianlong fanggu six-character inscribed mark and of the period (1736-1795); 8½ in. (21.5 cm.) high. Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 250,000. Price realised USD 722,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.
Of square section and raised on a slightly flared pedestal foot, the sides left plain, carved with a pair of monster mask handles suspending loose rings, the luminous, semi-translucent stone of pale greenish-white color, stained bone and zitan stand.
Provenance: Acquired in New York in the 1960s.
Note: The three great emperors of China's Qing dynasty (1644-1911) - Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong - were famous for their love of antiques. All three were active collectors and frequently commissioned wares made in ancient styles out of admiration for the golden eras of China's past, although it was likely the Qianlong emperor who had the strongest fascination with the antique. Archaistic wares produced during his reign included porcelains, bronzes, and as can be seen in the present lot, fine jades.
The shape of the present vase is based on bronze prototypes of Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) date. Compare two bronze fanghu of closely related form illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Bronze Articles for Daily Use, Hong Kong, 2006, pp. 68-9, nos. 59-60. Compare, also, the form of the Han dynasty bronze fanghu in this sale (lot 1259).
An inscribed Qianlong fanggu-marked jade fanghu of closely related shape but of slightly larger size (24.5 cm.), and with a cover, is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, and is illustrated in Chinese Jades Throughout the Ages - Connoisseurship of Chinese Jades: Qing Dynasty - 12, Hong Kong, 1997, p. 85, pl. 42.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011