Tuesday 7 November 2023

Lot 34

A rare Chinese champlevé and cloisonné-enamel tiered quatrefoil box and cover Qing dynasty,...

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Lot 34

A rare Chinese champlevé and cloisonné-enamel tiered quatrefoil box and cover
Qing dynasty,...

Price Realised: Unsold Lot

Estimate: £5,000 - £8,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (31.2% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 34


A rare Chinese champlevé and cloisonné-enamel tiered quatrefoil box and cover

Qing dynasty, Qianlong period

The floriform section enamelled to the cover with interlocking scrolls of Indian lotus, the side of the cover with c-scrolls on a bright turquoise ground, the two tiers respectively with alternating panels of leafy scrolling lotus and melons, and leafy prunus and lotus scrolls.

11.2cm wide.

清乾隆 銅斬胎海棠式蓋盒

Cf. For an identical box and cover, missing the middle tier, see Christie's, New York, 19 Sep 2006, lot 1701.

An aquatic plant native to regions throughout East Asia and the Asia Pacific, the lotus plant grows in slow-flowing waters including ponds, river deltas and floodplains in countries including China, India and Russia, the lotus flower has great symbolic significance in the Dharmic Traditions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, and has been of great importance to Chinese culture since time immemorial.

Because its significance spans centuries and countries, it has also acquired a deeply layered meaning, with some aspects unique to Chinese culture, and many elements coming from Buddhism.

Its main meaning, derived from Buddhism, is that of purity, as the plant grows in murky, muddy waters, sending up stems that bear round flowers, which then unfurl bright and pure multi-petalled flowers, which appear untouched by the dirt around them.

For the same reason, and its association with purity, the lotus is known in China as ‘the gentleman of flowers’. Moreover its names, hehua (荷花) or lianhua (蓮花) are homophonous with words for harmony and unity (he 和), as well as the words for ‘binding in marriage’ (lian 聯) and to love(also lian 戀), making the use of lotus flowers particularly suited to messages and wishes of marital harmony.

In Buddhism, it also symbolises the ability to overcome adversity, because it grows in often challenging habitats, but also rebirth, as lotus plants produce each year hundreds of thousands of seeds. Whilst many are eaten by wildlife and others germinate immediately nearby, many seeds also remain dormant whilst the weather and condition change, the water drains and time goes on. When the right conditions reappear, may that the next season or hundreds of years later, the seeds germinate and bring forth a new plant.

Because of its beauty, and its richly auspicious meanings, the lotus flower has long been a staple of the Chinese artistic repertoire, be it painting or decorative arts, with the motif of scrolling lotus flowers becoming iconic within porcelain, cloisonné-enamel, lacquer and textiles.

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over £1,000 as follows:
0 to £50,000 - 4%
£50,000.01 to £200,000 - 3%
£200,000.01 to £350,000 - 1%
£350,000.01 to £500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding £500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at £12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website www.artscouncil.org.uk or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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