Pair of Imperial Bronze Dragon Seals: Qianlong Marks and Period
This large pair of dragon handled bronze seals date from the period of Qianlong (1735-1795), emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in China.
The rectangular base measures 8 ½ inches by 7 ¼ inches (21.5 cm x 19.5 cm). The dragon handle stands up about 3 inches tall (8 cm.).
The top portions of the seals are covered with chiseled and engraved patterns of dragons and swirling lines representing the ocean or the sky. Standing on top of all this is the dragon handle.
The bottom of the seals are covered in archaic old Chinese pictogram script (see closeup photos). They also include traditional Chinese characters in one corner which are easily interpreted as Qianlong Reign Marks.
Some folks thought these might be paperweights because of their rather large size, compared to most seals of either bronze or jade. A recent article in the Jakarta Post referred to a very similar bronze seal as a “casted paperweight from the Qianlong Period”. See link below:
( http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/04/04/scholar-objects-undervalued-small-treasures.html )
These bronzes may have served double duty, with an original purpose yet to be determined by deciphering the archaic script and the possibility of also having been used as massive scroll weights.
The Emperor Qianlong had a serious interest in painting and was known to dabble in it himself on occasion. Some scrolls are exceptionally long and might have required a substantial scroll weight to keep them open for viewing (or possible two or more to hold the whole long thing open in the privacy of one's palace).
On April 4, 2010 , one identical bronze seal/scroll weight was sold at auction in China for the amount of RMB 651,200. (about $108,000.00 US ). The auction estimate had originally been 600,000-800,000 RMB (about $100,000-$130,000) for one single bronze seal.
The pair of bronze seals or scroll weights or “paperweights” are both in excellent condition. The buyer will not be disappointed.
They were purchased about 30 years ago in Southern California.
NOTE: Although the photos below make the the bronzes appear to be of different sizes , only the photos are of different sizes, not the bronzes themselves.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: THERE ARE A FEW VERY TINY SPOTS OF VERDIGRIS ON ONE OF THE SEALS . THIS IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR A BRONZE ITEM THAT IS OVER 200 YEARS OLD. IT IS REALLY NOT WORTH MENTIONING BUT WE ALWAYS LIKE TO HAVE FULL DISCLOSURE SO THERE ARE NO SURPRISES FOR THE BUYER.
This is a Tibetan copper & white metal/silver prayer box or portable shrine (Gao) with a small bronze figure of Ganesh inside.
It dates circa 1890-1930, or possibly earlier.
It also has stitched covers from the early to middle 20th Century.
The front cover is covered with wonderfully hand tooled images, including a Tibetan mythical beast or lion surrounded by Buddhist calligraphy, topped by a flame. The rest of the box is copper, under the protective, stitched cover.
It measures 5 inches tall by 4 1/4 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches in depth.
It is part of a small collection of antique Asian silver artifacts that were originally acquired together. Some of these items will also be offered for sale, now or at a later date.
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This antique bronze figure of Mahakala measures 10 inches wide by 12 inches tall by 3 inches in depth (at it's widest points)
It dates from 17th to 18th century Nepal or Tibet (circa 1600's-1700's)
It is in very good condition with remnants of gilt along with green verdigris (oxidation). Note: the bronze is slightly loose on its base. This does not affect it when placed against a wall.
This antique hardstone carving of a reclining ox dates from the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) or the early portion of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD).
It measures about 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 X 1 1/4 inches or 58mm x 31mm x 30 mm.
It is carved from white variegated stone with a small area of pale gray in the center.
It is in excellent condition with a substantial amount of reddish brown oxidation on it's base.
We are describing this as hard stone because it does not pass the scratch test for jade. The possibility exists, however, that it is actually altered jade which has been softened over time and proximity to the elements.
This rather substantial jade carving of a frog is in a style which originated in the late Neolithic to Shang Period, but we estimate it to actually date from the middle to late Ming Period (15th -17th Century).
It measures 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 1 inch in depth.
It is a gray-green celadon color with dark brown suffusions on it's back.
It is covered with symmetrical designs and shows evidence of much handling. It also has fully articulated toes on the bottom of it's feet. Location-GH-BX6
This late 18th century to early 19th century whale oil lamp measures approximately 11 inches tall by 4.5 -5 inches in diameter at it's widest points.
It was crafted in pewter and is Swiss or Austro Hungarian in origin, as it was acquired with a set of very similar figural Swiss candlestands with readable Hallmarks dating to about the same time period. Even so, this oil lamp is not marked or the marks have worn off over the centuries.
It consists of a standing figure in 17th-18th Century costume, holding up a four spigot oil font. The figure wears a cap with a crossed hammer insignia on it (partially obscured by wear)
It is signed with a date and initials on the base (18 GPP 27) which translates as GPP 1827.
This Chinese Export or Chinoiserie lacquered wooden box measures 7 1/4 inches by 5 1/4 inches by 1 3/4 inches.
It dates from the late 18th century to middle 19th century.
It is hand painted with a scene of five figures in a pagoda and garden landscape. The figures are painted in gold over a black lacquer and wood base.
It is in very good condition except for a few very minor cracks and small losses to the lacquer.
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This large bronze figure of Avalokitesvara dates somewhere between the Song Dynasty and the Ming Dynasty in China.
This figure represents one third of a Buddhist Triad, which may have originally been created as an altarpiece in a Buddhist temple.
This bronze figure measures 21 inches tall by 9 inches wide by 8 inches in depth. He/she is depicted wearing a Tang Dynasty upraised hair style and ornate robes and jeweled detailing.
It is in excellent condition with remnants of old gilt and colors remaining in areas. The head is completely covered with a layer of gold and the remainder is covered with a deep brown patina overall.
Traditionally, Avalokitesvara would sit on the left side of Amitabha Buddha in a three figure triad with Mahasthamaprapta sitting on the right side. There are engraved Chinese characterson the reverse side of it's base which translate as left two.
There are additional marks on the Gui held in front of the figure which may represent the date or the original donor of the bronze.
Since the side figures of a triad were smaller than the central figure,the central Buddha must have been fairly large. This fits with the theory of an origin in a temple or possibly a very wealthy home.
In Chinese Buddhism the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara is also known as Guanyin. Among the Chinese, Avalokitesvara is almost exclusively called Guanshiyin Pusa. Some Daoist scriptures give her the title of Guanyin Dashi, and sometimes informally as Guanyin Fozu.
In Chinese Buddhism, the worship of Guanyin as a goddess by the populace is generally not in conflict with the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara's nature. In fact the widespread worship of Guanyin as a "Goddess of Mercy and Compassion" is seen as the boundless salvific nature of bodhisattva Avalokitesvara at work. The Buddhist canon states that bodhisattvas can assume whatsoever gender and form is needed to liberate beings from ignorance
This museum quality gilt bronze figure was purchased from an old collection of Asian antiques originally formed during the early portion of the 20th century.
The authenticity of this bronze is guaranteed without exception.
This outstanding quality Ding Yao covered ceramic box, although Song Dynasty in appearance, may actually date from the Ming or Ching Dynasty.
It measures 8 inches in diameter by about 3 inches in height.
The domed cover is incised with repeating leaf patterns around a central leaf set within a circle.
It is in excellent condition with a circular kiln fracture around the outside of the bottom rim (see enlargement photo). This is original to the piece and is not considered damage.
This original carved "oosik" or penis bone measures about 11 inches long by 1 inch wide by 1 1/2 inches in depth at it's wide at the base.
Although it has the appearance of ivory, it is actually carved from heavily fossilized walrus penile bone. It is much harder than traditional ivory and as such has been used by native people for generations to producing knives and important implements.
This is likely a fertility totem in as much as it has a hooded woman riding a phallus with the raven and a stylized bear above her.
A work of this quality would have taken a great deal of time talent and effort to create.
The workmanship and details of the carving are outstanding and can honestly be described as museum quality.
This large jadeite carving of Guanyin (Kwan Yin) measures 4.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches in depth by 12.5 inches tall (including the period carved wooden base it sits on).
We estimate the jade itself to be about 11.5 inches tall without the stand. It sits about a half inch down in the stand and is bolted down (actually bolted down to the stand) (Someone was VERY careful with this old jade).
It is carved fom one piece of multicolored apple green jade with various shades of green flowing through it and a wonderfully rich color on it's face. It also has a few small inclusions of very dark green jade near it's base. These are all natural colors. This is NOT a color enhanced jade, guaranteed.
It dates from the late 18th century through the latter part of the 19th century.
It is in excellent condtion with no losses or repairs. It does have some natural inclusions on it's reverse that could be mistaken for damage. Be assured, they are natural fissures in the stone that have oxidized over the last century or so.
This glazed pottery incense burner measures 7 inches tall by 4 3/4 inches in diameter.
It is covered with hand painted floral designs on a coral colored background. It has a lid with gilded spiderweb designs and a seated kylin finial.
It dates circa 1880-1910.
It is in good condition with the exception of an old repaired break on one leg (see enlarged photo). It still retains a good portion of it's original gilding, except on the legs or finial.
It is unmarked, except for a partial calligraphic mark on the inside lid.
This hand painted ceramic vase measures about 10 inches (24.5 cm)tall by 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter at it's widest point.
It dates circa 1870-1900 (during the late Meiji Period) in Japan.
It is in excellent condition with virtually all of the high relief gilding intact.
This original carving of a Chinese lions and cub.
It dates from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Each one holds a lingzhi in its mouth.
It measures about 55 mm x 41 mm x 20 mm ( 2.1 x 1.5 x .75 inches)
It is carved from a uniformly pale celadon jade.
This Meiji period JAPANESE KUTANI BOWL measures 10 1/2 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep.
It is in excellent condition with slight wear to the gilding as would be expected .
It is signed on the bottom (see enlargement).
This 18th-19th century Tibetan or Nepalese bronze oil lamp measures approximately 6 inches tall by 6 inches wide (pan tip to dragon tail).
It was designed to be used as a lamp using either Yak butter or oil.
It has a standing dragon for a handle and a pan with Ganesha on a shield. It is a classic design which incorporates motif from the two cultures (India and China) which are major influences on Tibet (situated between the two of them).
It dates from the late 18th through the middle of the 19th century.
It is in excellent condition with a small amount of verdigris in the recessed areas. It does appear to have been cleaned at some time in it's history and appears to be toning down nicely. It also has some wax residue remaining in a few crevices.