Lot 161. A pale green jade archaistic vase, Qianlong period (1736-1795); 17.5cm (6 7/8in) high. Estimate £ 5,000-8,000. Sold for £ 16,250 (€ 18,557). Courtesy Bonhams.
The attractive stone of an even pale green tone, the flattened pear-shaped body supported on a tall spreading foot, expertly carved in relief with a taotie mask to the central register of each side above a band of descending cicada lappets and ruyi-heads to the gently tapering neck, flanked by a pair of handles issued from dragon heads suspending loose rings.
Provenance: Henry Rasmussen (1882-1985), and thence by descent.
Note: The jade vase is inspired in form and decoration by archaic bronzes. The Qianlong emperor proposed to 'restore ancient ways', referring to the view of ancient culture as having intrinsic qualities of sincerity, simplicity and happy exuberance. For this purpose the Emperor instructed the court to collect drawings of antiquities, such as the Xi Qing Gu Jian (Catalogue of Xiqing Antiquities), which were in turn provided to the craftsmen for inspiration. See Chang Li-tuan, The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, Taipei, 1997, pp.49-50.
Bonhams. FINE CHINESE ART, London, 12 November 2015