Jade seal of Chinese emperor to sell for £5m

The exquisite white jade object bears the words “Zi Qiang Bu Xi” – Self-Strengthening Never Ceases – and has a dragon emblem on top.
This 18th century period is now more desirable than the famous Ming era and the Chinese market has boomed in recent years.

The seal has come from a private European collector and its re-emergence after many years has excited experts in the field.
It was one of a set of three personal seals commissioned by the emperor and is linked with his 80th birthday.
The dragon on top is a five claw dragon and it represents the emperor and it is holding a flaming pearl, which is known as the “pearl of wisdom”.
It was made in 1793 after the eunuch Mei Jinbao reported to Qianlong that the Chief-Administrator Zhang Jixi had presented a set of three pieces of white jade.
The inscriptions were then added and the emperor used them to make impressions at the right or left corner of calligraphy artworks.
His order for them is recorded and states: “It is decreed: send them to Suzhou to be carved according to the attached inscriptions.
“This is the Imperial Edict on the 2nd day of the 7th month of the 58th year of the Qianlong Emperor’s reign.”
It is not known when the seal left China but it was most likely to have been taken from the Forbidden City – home of Chinese emperors – during the Boxer rebellion in 1900.
The current owner is the son of the European collector who bought it probably in the 1950s or 1960s.
The seal is being sold by Bonhams and although there is no official estimate, a similar one sold recently for 5.2 million pounds.
Guo Fuxiang, a curator at the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in Beijing, a world authority on Imperial history, said the inscription served as a reminder.
He said: “The reason this inscription was chosen for the seal is revealed in the Emperor?s personal comments which indicates a determination not to become indolent, but to remain mindful and diligent, doing his best to govern his subjects before relinquishing power.
“The term Ziqiang Buxi – Self Strengthening Never Ceases – served as a constant reminder to him.”
Asaph Hyman, from Bonhams’ Chinese art department, said: “The discovery of this long lost symbol of Imperial China at its zenith is extremely important for all those passionate about the history of Imperial China.
“There is no other work of art with which the emperor would have been as personally associated as with his personal seal.
“It is an exquisite piece of artwork, but it is the historical context that makes it so valuable. It was the personal belonging of the emperor who was considered one of the greatest emperors Imperial China ever had.
“It was produced for the imperial court and the emperor was personally involved in its construction. For the collector or museum who buys it, they will have something that had direct contact with the emperor.
“It is small but the value comes from its quality and its historical context and the market is very buoyant at the moment. Bonhams is greatly honoured to be selling an Imperial seal of such importance.”
Emperor Qianlong reigned officially from 1736 to 1795 when he abdicated so he did not rule longer than his grandfather. But he retained ultimate power until his death in 1799.
The sale is on November 11.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Ammara said,

    i want it.

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