Lot 32. A rare large grey and pale green jade 'Lotus leaf' brushwasher, 17th-18th century; 26.2cm (10 3/8in) wide. Estimate HK$ 180,000-240,000. Sold for HK$ 225,000 (€ 26,879). Photo: Bonhams.
Finely carved as a deeply hollowed vessel in the form of a large lotus leaf, incised with veins elegantly rising up to the curved foliate rim, all borne on leafy winding stems issuing a large lotus blossom on one side, the reverse with a lone swallow in flight with its head turned backwards, the greyish-pale-green stone with russet inclusions, wood stand.
Provenance: Acquired from Louis Joseph, London (label, no.6793)
An English private collection and thence by descent.
Note: The present lot would have graced the desk of a high ranking official or scholar, reminding the owner of the lotus's famed ability to remain 'unstained by the muddy surrounding'. Scholar-officials who refused to compromise their integrity liked to compare themselves with the purity of the lotus, symbolism further imbued with its Buddhist religious significance and association. The swallow, carved on one side of the washer, symbolises the heralding of good fortune to come and a prosperous change for the better.
Compare a related pale green jade lotus washer, 18th century, from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated by M.Wilson, Chinese Jades, London, 2004, pl.56; for another related washer, Qing dynasty, from the Qing Court Collection, see The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Jadeware (II), Hong Kong, 2008, pl.39.
A related but smaller white and dark grey jade 'lotus leaf' brushwasher, 17th/18th century (21.1cm wide), sold at Christie's New York, 19-20 September 2013, lot 1739.
Bonhams. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 4 Jun 2015 10:30 HKT - HONG KONG, ADMIRALTY