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 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 standing nephrite jade carving of a bearded and robed figure with long horns or a headdress of some sort measures about 10 1/2 inches tall by 3 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches in depth.
It is carved from a large piece of nephrite ranging from pale to deep green with a strip of oxidized white to yellow jade down the middle. In addition, there is a crackled stripe of oxidation running down through the center of the face through the figure to the bottom of the robe.
There are also engraved rectangular patterns and additional patterns on the robe.
Although the serious possibility exists that this is an old nephrite carving dating to the Shang period, we are dating this one very conservatively to about circa 1900-1920. If it turns out to be much older, we are certain the buyer will not be too upset.
It is interesting to note, however, that the oxidation and subsequent crackling of the stone that runs right down through the face probably occurred after the jade was carved. The question arises: if this is a copy made in the last 100 years or so, why didn't they turn it around before they carved the face, as the center of the back side is pristine where the face could have been positioned, no crackling or deterioration? It would have been the better choice to use as the front and would have made a more attractive and potentially more saleable copy. If however, the deterioration of the stone actually happened over an extended period of time after it was carved, that would make more sense as an explanation as to why the current positioning of the stone in relation to it's natural flaws or irregularities.
Nepalese Bronze Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani
11th to 14th century: circa 1000-1300 AD.
This outstanding bronze statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani stands 13.5 inches tall not including the two rectangular mounts that extend into it's bronze base.
It stands 15 inches tall including it's bronze lotus base.
It is in excellent condition with much of it's original gilt remaining on the raised areas and his face. The remainder of the original gilt has been lost over the last thousand years or so, exposing a deep copper colored bronze surface.
Among the many forms of Avalokiteshvara, Padmapani is probably the oldest.
Avalokiteshvara is the embodiment of all of the Buddha's infinite compassion.
Padmapani means "lotus in hand". His left hand holds the lotus stalk, while his right hand is lowered in the gesture of granting favors.
This is an early example the use of semi precious stone inlays, a distinctive feature of Tibetan and Nepali sculpture.
His smooth torso and broad shoulders reflect the impact of the Gupta style, which existed in Northern India from the fourth to sixth century. The armlets and crown are traditionally found on 10th to 12th century sculpture.
Additional Nepalese or Nepali scuptural traditions can be seen in the shape of the broad face and full cheekbones which differ from the smaller and fuller facial features found in Indian art. The curves of the eyebrows and eyes and the long line of the nose are also typically Nepalese in style. In addition, the delicately engraved or incised floral pattern of the sarong around his waist is also typically found on early Nepali sculptures .
A larger, but stylistically similar example of an 11th century bronze Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara Padmapani is held in the Cleveland Museum of Art:
On September 21, 2007 Christies NY sold a 14 inch gilt bronze Avalokitesvara Padmapani for $577,000.00 .
Recently - On March 20, 2012, a 17 7/8 inch tall bronze Padmapani was sold for $2.8 million dollars by Christies Auction House in New York.
THIS IS A MUSEUM QUALITY BRONZE AND IT IS GUARANTEED TO BE AS DESCRIBED, WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.
This Japanese Satsuma Vase is unmarked, 15 inches tall and about 9 inches in diameter.
It dates to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) and has Kwannon and Lohans with an elephant pictured upon it.
It is in excellent condition with some light rubbing on the high relief gilded areas exposing an outstanding crackle beneath.
This seated bronze Buddha in Sukhothai style most likely dates from the 16th to 18th century in Thailand. It may actually be earlier. but we prefer to be conservative in estimations .
It measures 16 inches tall by about 11 inches wide by 7 inches in depth.
It is in very good condition with areas of green patination and overall oxidation in various shades of pale to rusty brown. It has a few areas of casting loss, particularly on one end of the base (see the photo close ups). It also has a few areas where the bronze has either thinned out or pitted (again, primarily on the reverse of the base,)
The history of Thai sculpture dates from sometime during the thirteenth century, when a distinct national school emerged and broke away from Cambodian and Mon influences in terms of the stylistic development of Buddha images. Specific schools and sub-styles are defined on the basis of relatively slight variations in the prescribed dress, the treatment of the hair and so on.
This Buddha is seated on an undecorated pedestal in the cross-legged yogic posture of satvaparyankasana, the right leg placed over the left. His right hand is lowered, long fingers pointing downward in the earth touching gesture. The latter symbolizes Shakyamuni's triumph over the forces of the demon Mara, who attempted to distract him from his quest for enlightenment, a ubiquitous theme in Thai Buddhist art. The Buddha's monastic robe is worn leaving his right shoulder bare, and a long thin section of cloth representing his narrowly folded shawl falls downs from his left shoulder to below his navel terminating in two points.
This antique bronze figure of the Monkey God Hanuman measures 5 x 4 x 1 1/2 inches (13 x 10 x 3 cm).
It is in excellent condition.
This ancient bronze figure was most likely crafted in Northern India, Tibet or Nepal.
We are dating it to the 17th - 18th century, although it may actually be much earlier, based on it's stylistic similarities with small Pala period bronze figures.
This ancient Roman two handled glass vase is in excellent condition. It has no damage, repairs or restoration.
It measures about 4 3/4 inches tall by 3 5/8 inches in diameter at it's widest point.
It has applied glass handles which have been referred to by some as "Dolphin Handles".
It has areas of wear and iridescence overall.
It has parallel striations down the neck below the wide lip.
This is a museum quality glass vase that we have had in our personal collection for about forty years.
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 substantial bronze handled pitcher measures 6 inches tall by 4 inches wide by 7 inches in depth.
We are dating this one to circa 1790-1820, but it may be much, much older. It is either a Neoclassical bronze copy of a Roman bronze or the real thing. We have priced it as a copy, but if real, you can add a couple of "00"s to it's price.
It is in excellent condition, except for a few small bungs and a restoration to the base. The bottom appears to have had three holes filled a long time ago. It may also have been leveled a bit to allow it to sit evenly (this part is speculation).
It has an even greenish black patina overall.
This original 19th century wooden carving of a Chinese Emperor with gilded and polychrome details measures 11 inches tall, 5 3/4 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep. It is in outstanding condition with ornate detailing and symbols in high relief on it's golden robe.
The one exception to it's unusually good condition is the loss of one hand. The hair in it's beard is REAL.
This is an antique jade carving of a seated monkey holding a Peach (Late Ming to Qing Dynasty)
It is a finely polished blue grey nephrite jade with white jade areas utilized to accent the nose and extremities.
There are remnants of oxidation or calcification in the crevices.
This antique carved jade is in outstanding condition. It is an excellent example of 17th-19th century jade carving.
Subject is a seated monkey with a finger in his mouth, holding a peach
3 1/4 x 1 1/2 X 1 1/2 inches (79mm x 40mm x 42 mm)
These two bronze figures date from the 17-18th century or earlier.
Each one represents either Mahakala or Samantabhadra standing on a prostrate human figure surrounded by a ring of fire and wearing a garland of severed human heads.
Each measures about 8 inches tall by 5 inches wide.
Both are in excellent condition except for a small square opening on the back of one.
This blue & white ceramic bottle or jar measures 9 inches tall by 3 1/4 inches in diameter.
It is hand painted with scenes in cobalt blue on a white ground.
It is in excellent condition with a few natural fissures and irregularities to the glaze (see close up photos).
We estimate it to date circa 1700-1900.
This antique majolica bowl on an ornately detailed bronze stand measures 17 inches wide by 15 inches tall by 7 1/2 inches in depth.
It dates circa 1760-1840. It is European, and most likely French in origin.
It is in outstanding condition, period. The majolica bowl is in excellent condition with no chips or losses, although there is a lovely crackle to the glaze on the interior of the bowl. The bronze mounts retain much of their original gilding, with no apparent repairs to their delicate, almost spiderweb designs.
This Japanese painted bronze figure of Daikoku measures approximately 13.5 inches tall by 6 inches wide by 5 inches in depth.
It is a substantial bronze figure, weighing around 13+ pounds or about 6 kilos.
It is signed or marked on both the figure and the separate base of rice bales (see two of the enlargement pictures).
It dates from the late Meiji to Taisho Period (circa 1890-1912).
It is in excellent condition with most of it's original colored and patinated surfaces intact. An exception to this is the loss of a small triangular shaped piece which was apparently once attached at the figure's midsection (see photo enlargement of loss). This most likely was originally a separate attachment (see the drill hole?) in the shape of a small pouch (or treasure sack) which Daikoku traditionally carried.
Since the 17th century, Daikoku has been known as the Japanese god of wealth, the household and of farmers, although in earlier centuries he was considered a fierce protector deity (Mahakala).
In Japan, artwork of this deity usually shows him wearing a hood and standing on two bales of rice, carrying a sack of treasure and holding a magic mallet. Daikoku is often clad in robes, with a smile on his face.
In some traditions, Daikoku is also considered to be a provider of food, and images of him can still be found in monastery kitchens and in the kitchens of private homes. He is recognized by his wide face, smile, and a flat black hat.
He is often portrayed holding a golden mallet (called a Uchide Nokozuchi), also known as a magic money mallet, and is seen positioned on bales of rice, occasionally with mice nearby (mice signifying plentiful food).
Originally a Hindu deity called Mahakala, he was introduced to Japan in the ninth century, and merged with the Shinto deity of good harvests, Oo-kuninushi-no-Mikoto (or Okuninushi-no-Kami, translated as "Prince Plenty"). The lucky mallet in his right hand is called the uchide nokozuchi. This mallet is said to have magical properties that can produce anything desired when struck. Some stories say that coins fall out when he shakes his mallet. Others say that believers are granted their heart's desire by tapping a symbolic mallet on the ground three times and making a wish.
The symbol of the precious Buddhist Jewel, sometimes found on Daikoku's mallet or belt, represents the themes of wealth and unfolding possibility. It is said to give its holder the ability to see all things (like a crystal ball).
The precious jewel is one of the seven symbols of royal power in Buddhism. Daikokyu, himself is considered to be one of the seven household gods of Japan.
This outstanding example of a Muhuashi (Petrified Wood Scholar's Rock) measures 8 inches by 5 1/2 inches by 4 inches tall (including the carved wooden stand it sits in). One photo enlargement shows the stand and the bottom of the rock.
It has the appearance of a craggy old mountain. It was at one time part of a collection of jade mountains. The mineralized wood is actually as hard or harder than jade.
It is difficult to put an actual age on this stone, but we can easily assume that it's age can be measured in centuries, lot's of them!