Lot 2875. A rare gold figure of a qilin, Yuan (1279-1368); 2. 7/8 in. (7.3 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 120,000 - HKD 180,000. Price realised HKD 150,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
The double horned qilin is hammered standing four-square with a hollowed body. Its head is chased with bulging eyes, furry eyebrows and open jaws revealing its set of fangs and tongue. The body is defined with scales, serrated mane and upright bushy tail, box.
Provenance: An English private collection, acquired in Hong Kong in the 1980s.
Note: There are numerous references in traditional Chinese mythology and symbolism to the qilin, an auspicious animal with a lion’s head, tiger’s eyes, deer’s body, dragon’s scales, horse’s hooves and the tail of an ox, symbolising longevity, fertility and flourishing age during the reign of a benevolent ruler. In the Yuan dynasty, particularly in the mid-fourteenth century, the image of the qilin became one of the most popular motifs depicted on porcelains, and is usually rendered with a galloping pose with the head facing forward in the centre of a dish.
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 9 July 2020