Altar flowers (pair)
South of China, probably Guangzhou (Canton)
17th century (probably Ming, 1368-1644)
Silver, enamel and glass
Bibliography: Choices, Lisboa, AR-PAB, 2016, pp. 358-361 (cat. 30); CRESPO, Hugo Miguel - Jóias da Carreira da Índia. Lisboa: Fundação Oriente, 2014, p. 169
Pair of silver altar flowers (ramalhetes), recognized as chinese work, probably Ming (1368-1644).
They depict plum blossoms of many petals and prominent stamens, possibly the Japanese flowering apricot, decorated with beads of coloured glass alongside small birds and butterflies set with enamels.
Chisel cut from thin sheet silver, both the flowers and their characteristic leaves and the delicate animals are set into a structure shaped like a branch, worked in repoussé and chased, through means of a coiled thread, resulting in a set of elements in tremblant. This en tremblant system, in usage since at least the Liao dynasty, can be found in Ming jewellery in pieces resembling seventeenth and eighteenth-century European en tremblant hair pins and equally common to the jewellery of the Qing period.
This is also not an unknown typology in what regards private, individual Buddhist altars, given that the branches of flowers serve as an offering to the deity with many known Japanese examples in gilded metal representing vases filled with lotus flowers.
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1 000 €