Auspicious White Jade ‘Double-Gourd’ Vase from Qianlong Reign to Lead Christie’s Paris Art d'Asie

In the upcoming Art d'Asie sale, Christie’s Paris presents an array of Chinese, Southeast Asian and Japanese works of art. The sale will be led by a white and russet jade ‘double-gourd’ vase and cover from the Qianlong period that is estimated at €150,000-200,000.

The decoration on this vase encompasses numerous auspicious symbols. The double-gourd is associated with Daoism, as it is the attribute of the immortal Li Tieguai. It is also symbolic of prosperity and abundance, and in particular, an abundance of children. The lower section of the vase is inscribed with ‘da ji’, meaning ‘great luck’.

The body is delicately adorned on each side with four bats flying amidst clouds while the neck of the vase is flanked by two bat-shaped handles each one holding a lingzhi fungus of immortality in its mouth. The Chinese word for bat is ‘fu’, a homophone for the word ‘happiness’. Hence, bat is a popular motif on Chinese works of art because of its auspicious connotation.

The second highlight, a Zitan cabinet, is also from the Qianlong period. Measuring 102cm (height) x 104cm (length) x 55cm (depth), the large cabinet is originally the upper part of a compound cabinet. It is estimated at €120,000-150,000.

This cabinet is notable for its richly carved Zitan panels of dragons rising from tumultuous waves against a dense cloud ground. Such imagery was historically popular among, and exclusive to, members of the imperial family, thus placing the present cabinet in the highest class of Chinese furniture.

The third top lot is a celadon-glazed vase from the Qianlong period (1736-1795), estimated at €100,000-150,000. The shape and decoration of the vase have their origins in the Song dynasty celadons from the Longquan kilns. Longquan celadon wares continued to be extremely popular during the Yuan dynasty and into the early Ming dynasty.

Building on the achievements of the early Ming dynasty imperial kiln, the potters of the Kangxi reign perfected a particularly delicate celadon glaze to be applied over a very white (low iron) porcelain body. The new celadon glaze for porcelain was further modified in the Yongzheng period to produce an even more finely textured and slightly bluer pale celadon glaze, and small adjustments continued to be made in the Qianlong reign.

This current vase belonged to a French gentleman who lived in Hanoi and had worked as a clerk since 1927. In 1931, he joined a notary office in Saigon where he worked until the 1950s. Before his final departure to France, his colleagues offered this beautiful vase as a gift to thank him for his honourable contribution. After a long career in Vietnam, his family went back to France and lived in the South-East and then in Paris. In 1982, this vase was mounted as a lamp and offered to their daughter as her 40th birthday gift.

Lot details

Important Vase Couvert 'Double-Gourde' en Jade Blanc Et Rouille
Chine, Dynastie Qing, Epoque Qianlong (1736-1795)

Lot no.: 45
Height: 20cm
French private collection, in the family since late 19th century.
Estimate: €150,000-200,000

Important Cabinet en Zitan 
Chine, Dynastie Qing, Epoque Qianlong (1736-1795)

Lot no.: 76
Height: 102cm
Width: 104cm
Depth: 55cm
Estimate: €120,000-150,000

Rare Et Important Vase en Porcelaine Emaillee Celadon a Decor Moule
Chine, Dynastie Qing, Marque Moulee a Six Caracteres en Cachet Et Epoque Qianlong (1736-1795)

Lot no.: 126
Height: 35cm
Previously from a French private collector who received it as a gift in 1952 in Hanoi, Vietnam, thence by descent to the present owner.
Estimate: €100,000-150,000

Auction details
Auction house: Christie’s Paris
Sale: Art d’Asie
Lots offered: 243
Date: 12 June 2019|10:30am (Lots 1 - 78)
          12 June 2019| 2:30pm (Lots 79 - 245)