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Quatre panneaux en zitan sculpté formant cabinet, Chine, dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong (1736-1795) ou antérieur
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About the object

Quatre panneaux en zitan sculpté formant cabinet\nChine, dynastie Qing, époque Qianlong (1736-1795) ou antérieur, Les panneaux extérieurs à décor de deux dragons à cinq griffes à la poursuite de la perle enflammée dans des nuages stylisés volant au-dessus de rochers émergeant de flots tumultueux, agrémentés sur l'un de pivoines entourées du noeud sans fin et de la carpe, sur l'autre d'iris accompagnées du parasol et du dais, les deux panneaux centraux à décor de deux couples de dragons dont deux représentés de face poursuivant la perle sacrée dans les nuages stylisés au-dessus de rochers et vagues où poussent des chrysanthèmes accompagnées du vase sacré, d'un lotus Ming à droite et d'un lotus Qing à gauche, les charnières en bronze doré ciselé de dragons dans des nuages stylisés, la ferrure centrale rectangulaire à décor de caractères shou, dragons, nuages et flots tumultueux, d'où pendent deux petites plaques agrémentées de chauves-souris, la partie basse entièrement sculptée de nuages stylisés ; le montage postérieur, longue fente sur le panneau intérieur droit\n241,5 x 208,3 x 53,3 cm. ; 95 x 82 x 21 in.
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notes

The present cabinet is notable for its richly carved zitan panels of dragons rising from tumultuous waves against a dense cloud ground. The exceptional high relief and complex composition of the panels are comparable with that seen on an exquisite throne, also carved from zitan and suggesting that they may have been carved by the same hand. Further example of large screens carved with similar scenes include a rectangular pair sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th September 1989, lot 1577; and two shaped pairs sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2007, lots 871 and 872. See a large zitan cabinet, similarly decorated with dragon and cloud designs, pictured in situ in the bedroom behind the Yangxin dian (Hall of Mental Cultivation), illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), Hong Kong, 2002, pl. 249.

The large panels of this cabinet are carved from the most precious and highly esteemed timber available to the master craftsmen working in the Muzuo (Wood Workshop) belonging to the Zaobanchu (Imperial Palace Workshop). With its jade-like silky texture, extremely fine and dense grain and subtle yet deep lustre, zitan was the favoured timber of the Ming and Qing courts. It was particularly valuable for its long growth period combined with its limited supply, and cultivated mainly in the southern regions such as Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. By the Qing dynasty, excessive felling of zitan led to its exhaustion in China and large quantities had to be imported from islands in the South Pacific. During Kangxi's reign demand for zitan was so great that even young trees were cut, thus leading to the complete extinction of the species. By Qianlong's reign, special measures were taken by the Court to protect any existing stores of zitan, which were kept in the warehouses of the Imperial Workshop. The Archives of the Imperial Workshop at Yangxin Hall (Yangxin dian zaoban chu ge zuocheng huoji qing dang) confirm that the use of zitan was scrupulously monitored and restricted to the Palace Workshops. Furthermore, Qianlong gave special instructions to ensure the most economical and responsible use of the palace's zitan supply to avoid any waste.

creator

Quatre panneaux en zitan sculpté formant cabinet

dimensions

241,5 x 208,3 x 53,3 cm. ; 95 x 82 x 21 in.


*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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