There is a very beautiful (and also very rare) pair of Chinese Imperial pale celadon jade models of jardinières coming up at Woolley & Wallis’s Asian sale later in May. Said to be Qianlong, they would appear to be quite outstanding, they also have some provenance and are estimated at £40,000-60,000.
The flaring bodies are raised on three short feet, each jardinière issuing a gilt metal blossoming spray, one of prunus; the flowers in white jade, coral and enamel, the other peach, its flowers and leaves in agate and hardstone, with smaller petals in kingfisher feather, each with a small bird perched in its branches, its body adorned with kingfisher feathers.
At the bases rockwork, flowering rohdea, narcissus, nandina (the holy bamboo) and lingzhi fungi are depicted in lapis lazuli, red coral, amber and spinach-green jade, the jardinières each raised on an elaborately carved reticulated five-legged zitan stand, paper labels for John Sparks Ltd., 32.5cm and 31cm respectively, 39cm and 37.5cm overall.
Provenance: property of a distinguished private collection, purchased from John Sparks Ltd.
References: Classics of the Forbidden City, Architecture and Decoration of the Forbidden City, p.189, no.155 where cloisonné and jade examples in the Chu Xiu Gong palace can be seen; see also Imperial Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, p.249, no.287, where a pair of larger jade jardinières are illustrated; and The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Treasures of Imperial Court, pp.34-49 for further of related pieces.