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Elite in the press

March 2011

Mar 12, 2011 – Important rare lidded imperial white jade ceremonial vessel with lion-heads and the five classics scenes. Qianlong Period (1736-1795)-Qing Dynasty goes up for auction lot# 450 on March 20th 1pm ET at This magnificent imperial white jade ceremonial vessel is distinguished by sublime stone that, when the vase is illuminated from the inside, is both translucent and flawless. the vessel has a refined, very attractive look, with a balance achieved between angular and rounded shapes. This rare imperial vase is carved from one piece of supreme quality of Burmese jadeite. Burmese jadeite was discovered by the French mineralogist Alexis Damour in 1863. Long before that, The Emperor Ch'Ing Lung, who ruled from 1736-1795, who extended his jurisdiction into North Burma (now renamed Myanmar), started transporting this precious mineral to the best carvers in Beijing, between 1784-1798, where the Emperor was born Sept. 25, 1711. this piece of jadeite is most probably from a jadeite boulder transported from Burma to Beijing in that period. The Emperor passed away in Beijing February 7, 1799. The body of the vase is well hollowed on the interior. The exterior is flanked by a pair of mythical lion-heads, issuing loop handles suspending loose rings. The well-fitted angular cover is surmounted by a rounded knob. The surface of the vessel is polished to create a waxy sheen, la guang, so typical of the jades of the 1700s. The main body is graced with finely executed in relief design on a theme of the Five Classics, wujing, by Confucius - the principal texts for teaching noblemen in China since the Han Dynasty (206B.C. - 220A.D.). the Five Classics include the book of Poetry, the book of History, the book of Rites, the Book of Changes and the Spring and Autumn Annals. Number "five" is not only auspicious in China but it is the cornerstone of Chinese mentality.) Symbolically represented by five (two on one side, and three on the opposite) young scholars performing the different activities, the scenes on the body of the vase would, subtlety, yet with a degree of directness, speak to an Emperor of his duties to self and to his nation. Since ancient times, being an emperor was not just a privilege in China, but, first and foremost, a responsibility. "The son of Heaven" - a Chinese emperor - was expected to be righteous, extremely well-educated, wise and respectful of ancestors, ancient rites and customs. This message is also eloquently delivered by means of material of choice: jade - and white jade in particular - was considered to be "the stone of heaven" and the means through which a Chinese emperor would communicate with the divine and with his ancestors. Furthermore, the all-important moral code introduced by Confucious, was based on The Five Virtues (charity of heart, duty toward one's neighbor, propriety, wisdom and truth). These were the qualities that, for Confucious and his followers, were attributes of jade. To the ancient Chinese, jade (yu) was the most precious of all materials; it was valued more than gold. Besides the characteristics noted above, jade also symbolized to Confucious purity and excellence and was regarded by the philosopher and the ancient Chinese as "the concrete expression of both earthly and heavenly power. Similar vases to this one you will only find in the Beijing Palace Musem in China and The Royal Albert Museum in London. Another Museum's vase sold at Christies Honk Kong December 2008, sale 2622 for a price of $3,279,141. Measures 10" height x 6" width (25.4cm x 15.2cm). This Imperial vase is part of a jade collection in a family foundation.

ELITE DECORATIVE ARTS, of Boynton Beach Florida.