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 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!
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This original Ming Dynasty ceramic or stoneware tile with a figure of a seated Buddha measures about 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches.
It is in very good condition with minor losses to the glaze in a few areas along with a few small rim chips.
Stylistically, it has more in common with Song Dynasty ceramics, but most likely it dates to the Ming Dynasty.
This architectural tile appears to have been designed to be mounted in the wall of a shrine or temple and has a pattern of large shaped dovetails on the reverse for that purpose (see enlargement photo).
This museum quality piece consists of very dense stoneware covered with colored glazes in turquoise, aubergine and yellow.
This Buddha tile dates from the Ming Dynasty or earlier.
A Few Facts:
The Shanyin Hall at the White Dagoba Temple was built or restored by the Qianlong emperor in 1751, 30 years after a large earthquake damaged the same area in Beijing.
Shanyin Hall currently has 445 Buddha tiles of similar style, but of later manufacture (probably circa 1976 -when it was last restored after the Tangshan earthquake.) (See the last photograph).
It may have have had tiles similar to the one we are offering prior to it's previous restorations in 1751 or 1976.
It is quite possible that this turquoise Buddha tile may be a remnant of one of those earlier changes or restorations.
We currently have in our collection a tile similar to the current tiles that are currently mounted in Shanyin Hall in Beijing. Our tile is marked with Wanli reign Marks (1573- 1619). This is not the tile we are offering with this lot. The one we are offering actually appears to be earlier than this Wanli tile, but it is unmarked.
We can't document it yet, but it is a serious possibility that this old Buddha tile dates to before 1619.
Our research shows that the original tiles were probably held in place with lime mortar-not the best thing to use in an earthquake zone.
This tile we offer here may have been salvaged from an old temple restoration or from a temple no longer in existence. This same area has seen earthquakes in 1679, again in 1730 and again in 1976-to name a few.
All of this is a combination of verifiable facts and speculation, but speculation based on observable and documented facts.
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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.
This small jade or hard stone carving of a stylized face measures 2.25 inches x 2.75 inches x 1.5 inches in depth.
It's colors range from a medium to dark green to a pale green with areas of translucence. It also has natural inclusions in the stone with areas of dark brown or off white oxidation.
It is carved in the style of old Olmec carvings, but it may be early 20th century. It may also be Chinese, rather than Latin American in origin, but neither origin has been documented yet.
It is unusual in that it has a mounting bracket extending from the reverse side. Similar brackets have been seen on occasion to allow for mounting as architectural components or as decorations in religious settings.
If this stylized carving actually is older than our estimate, it would be worth a great deal more than our asking price.
The mounting bracket would allow for this piece to be worn as a belt slide or buckle, or as a large pendant.
This jadeite carving measures about 3.5 x 5 inches by .5 inches in depth. It is in the shape of a rectangular plaque with slightly rounded edges.
It features a robed figure of Buddha holding a large lotus leaf while another figure kneels beside him.
This jadeite carving is in excellent condition .
It has colors that range from pale green to variegated colors that include a bright apple green, deep moss green and touches of emerald green.
The colors of the stone have been used to good effect to make the Buddha stand out on the obverse. On the reverse two large lotus leaves are framed utilizing the natural colors of the stone.
Price on Request
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 original bronze figure of a seated and robed official holding a jui (symbol of power) measures 8 1/2 inches tall by 5 inches wide by 3 1/2 inches.
It is covered overall with a very subtle and dark patina. It has a softness of detail that only comes from hundreds of years of handling. It also has a few cracks and slight losses to it's surface that do not detract from it's overall appearance.
It dates to a period ranging from the 15th through the 17th centuries in China.
The buyer will not be disappointed, as it is nicer than the photos would indicate. This bronze figure is guaranteed to be an original ( of the period. It is NOT a copy or reproduction of any kind.
This Qing Dynasty Chinese carved jade double tube vase or nuptial cup measures just slightly less than 7 inches tall by about 4 inches wide by 3 inches in depth.
It is also known as a "Champion Vase".
It is carved from one piece of celadon colored nephrite jade with inclusion of lighter jade that give it the appearance of cloud formations. It also has a few rust colored inclusions that follow the natural inclusions of the stone.
It is carved in the shape of a mythological bird or phoenix standing on a Chinese lion or Chilung while holding two ornately carved tubular vases with its wings. The lids of both vases are conjoined by a dragon wrapped around both sides.
Double jade carvings of this type have been described not only as “Marriage or Nuptial Cups”, but also as “Champion Vases” by their owners over the centuries.
These are quite rare and can be found in museum collections throughout the world. There is a jade champion vase in the Victoria and Albert museum in England.
There is also one at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.
Prices for similar but not absolutely identical jade champion vases have been increasing over the last decade or so. There are major similarities in most all of these vases but the minor details often vary from one to the next.
On November 1, 2004 , Christies Hong Kong sold a calcified green jade Champion vase for $80,256.00 against an estimate of $25,831.00- $38, 746.00 (sale 2177-Lot 834).
On November 27, 2007, Christies Hong Kong sold a white jade Champion vase for $248,842.00 (sale 2388-Lot 1547). It had an estimate of $38,730.00 - $51,640.00. It was 5 1/8 inches tall ( 13 cm).It was exceptional and from a well known collection.
On March 18, 2008, Christies Auction House sold a Champion Vase of somewhat similar appearance for $50,000.00 US (Christies: Sale 2267-Lot #440) It was 5 7/8 inches tall. On June 12, 2012, another jade Champion vase was sold for $64,000.00 (Christies –Sale 3509 /Lot #161). It was 5 1/8 inches tall.
Another jade champion vase is scheduled to go up to auction very soon ( Christies NY- September 13, 2012 ( sale 2580- Lot # ?). It is estimated to bring $50,000.00-$70,000.00. _________________________________________________________________________________
This extremely old hardstone / jade bracelet dates from the Liangzhu Period (3300 BC-2200 BC).
It is a varigated black color with one spot of pale yellow green on the interior.
It is in excellent condition, even though its material has been been degraded over time (The scratch test only works on the green spot due to the degradation of the darker areas). It also has a crystal structure that can be seen under high magnification.
It has an outside diameter of 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 inches (8.5- 9 cm) and an interior diameter of 2 5/8 inches (6.6 cm). It is about 3/4 inch in width (1.8 - 2.0 cm). This is an outstanding piece and is similar in style to another burnt jade bangle of white chicken bone color in published works.
This jade carving of a Chinese lion, Chimera or Fu dog sits at an alert posture on all four paws.
It has a split or bifurcated tail and stylized wings.
It measures 2 1/2 inches by 1 7/8 inches by 1 1/4 inch (57 mm x 49 mm x 31 mm).
It is carved from a piece of off white to celadon colored jade with natural striations running through it. There is a natural brown irregularity which runs from it's foot to it's ear on one side along with a small area of brown suffusion on it's flank.
(This is the fancy way of saying it has few areas of rust. Not a bad thing for a genuine antique jade carving.)
We are dating this one to the Qing Dynasty, but it may actually be much earlier.
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 Chinese ceramic or porcelain charger measures 15-15.25 inches in diameter. It measures about 2.5 inches in depth.
It dates to the Qing Dynasty in China (1644-1911).
It is hand painted in the Famille Rose palette and design.
It has a black ground border with green scrolling leaves and foliage and rose to pink colored flowers.
The level of detail and the quality of the painting is exceptional.
It is in outstanding condition with no repairs or restoration. It has an amazing clear ring and there are no hidden or hairline cracks.
NOTE: It does have a small number of tiny flake losses to the painting. They are not significant and can be seen in the photographs- if you look closely. They do not detract from it's overall appearance.
This has been in our personal collection for well over thirty years.
This is an original pair of 18th-19th century wooden carvings of Chinese eunuchs or officials. Each one measures 8.5 inches tall, 3 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep (at the base). They are in good condition with most of the original painted detailing remaining on their faces and some painted details remaining in other areas, such as the hat, sash, and ceremonial jade disk held by one of them. One figure holds what appears to be a representation of an old ceremonial jade. These appear to have been tomb figures that lost much of their original colors.
This large Chinese Cloisonne covered box measures 15 inches in diameter. It actually measures 17.5 inches wide, when you include the bronze handles on either side. It also measures 8 inches tall.
It is in excellent condition with the exception of a small circular restored spot on the bottom of the exterior. It appears to have been repaired in the late 19th century, based on the odd shade of green enamel that was used in the repair.
The cloisonne scene on the lid consists of a phoenix (fenghuang) looking down on a mountain range across the waters and under a red sun (a possible reference to Japan).
The chrysanthemums in the foreground may refer to Japanese royalty. This could have been designed as a gift for Japanese royalty.
This nephrite jade carving is a pale celadon to yellow jade altered to brown overall.
It appears to have been buried for an extended period of time, based on the level of alteration or oxidation.
We conservatively estimate that this antique nephrite jade dates to the late 19th - early 20th century.
It may actually be much older. Please view the detailed photos carefully.
The buyer will not be disappointed.
It measures 80 mm x 45mm x 12 mm in depth.
It is in very good condition with the exception of a slight loss to one wing tip, which appears to have happened ages ago because it shows wear and toning consistent with the rest of the carving.
The shape of the tail is unusual in that it looks like a sea monster . Without its pointed beak, it could be mistaken for a dragon or a kylin.