Lot 4034. A fine kesi civil official's rank badge of a mandarin duck, buzi, Qing dynasty, 18th century; 9 7/8 x 10 3/8 in. (25.2 x 26.5 cm.). Estimate 80,000 - HKD 120,000. Price realised HKD 81,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2012.
Made for a civil official of the seventh rank. The bird shown facing the sun as it alights on a rock protruding from a grassy ground with narcissus, lingzhi, chrysanthemum and bamboo, beside a river and flanked by further rockwork with an additional pine tree, the sky filled with ruyi-shaped clouds, all in shades of blue, coral, green, white and brown with painted details, within a gold border, mounted.
Provenance: Judith Rutherford.
Note: The seventh rank included the post of District Magistrate, the most important official with whom the vast majority of ordinary Chinese people would not have any dealings.
A very similar badge from the collection of Judith Rutherford is illustrated by B. Jackson and D. Hughes, Ph.D., Ladder to the Clouds, Berkeley, 1999, p. 240.
Christie's. The Imperial Sale, Hong Kong, 30 May 2012