Very rare pair of large celadon-glazed porcelain incense burners. They represent two Quilin* whose bodies serve as containers and whose heads serve as removable stoppers allowing the fragrance to escape.
They stand on finely chased bronze mounds gilded with mercury.
Good condition, one of the heads restored.
The porcelain, China, late Qianlong, early Jiaqing.
The bronze mounting, Paris, early 19th century.
Inventory numbers in indelible ink on the reverse of the bases: AMA 4393
Two labels, one from a dealer specializing in Chinese porcelain, with the indication "Ming Dynasty 1368-1644".
Height: 20 cm
Depth : 24 cm
Width : 17 cm
- Page 159 of Giacomo Wannenes' book, "Les bronzes ornementaux et les objets montés de Louis XIV à Napoléon III".
- Sotheby's Paris sale, September 14, 2017, lot 42.
- Rob Michiels sale, Bruges, Belgium, February 24, 2023, lot 945.
The sublime pair of perfume burners we are presenting boasts a magnificent celadon translucent glaze.
Few models are known and are often given as Ming with a Louis XV frame, as in the book by Giacomo Wannenes, or at the Rob Michiels sale.
The sand casting, mercury gilding and fixing waxes correspond perfectly to the criteria of the Ancien Régime, as do the slightly different shades or craquelures present on the porcelains, which also indicate a hand-crafted creation.
The shape is clearly derived from a Ming period model. However, these porcelains were to become an essential artistic, cultural and social reference during the reigns of the Qianlong emperor and his successor Jiaqing, and were reproduced by Chinese craftsmen in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
These pieces were mounted on bronze from 1820-1830 by Parisian department stores such as the Crystal Staircase, which pioneered the return of Asian taste.
These precious objects, made in pairs and combining Chinese porcelain and French mounts, are exceptionally rare.
*The qilin is a chimeric animal from Chinese mythology, often called a unicorn in Western languages. It resides only in peaceful places or in the vicinity of a wise man. Discovering one is therefore a good omen. It is also said to have the power to produce a talented son. Qi is the name of the male and lin that of the female, qilin the combination of the two. He is sometimes colloquially referred to as sibuxiang "who looks like nothing at all", a term encompassing various real or imaginary animals of composite appearance. As it appears in texts (but not always in representations) with a single horn, it is also called a unicorn.
According to the Han dynasty dictionary, the qilin is a gentle, lovable animal with the body of a deer, the tail of an ox and a single horn.
It is the very embodiment of harmony. According to some, the male's cry heralds the appearance of a sage, and the female's the return of peace.
Price : on request
3 800 €