PHILADELPHIA— Freeman’s is honored to present a rare Imperial “Emperor Emeritus” celadon-white jade seal of great cultural and historical importance at its October 14 Asian Arts auction. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
An outstanding example of Chinese jade carving, the seal’s upper face is gracefully sculpted with a qilong and two smaller qilong among scrolling waves or clouds, likely referring to the Chinese saying “Canlong jiaozi,” which may be translated as “the Eastern [blue] dragon teaching his son(s).” The “Taishang Huangdi Zhi Bao” seal arrives to Freeman’s from a private collection and carries a presale estimate of $300,000-$500,000.
The Qianlong Emperor of China—“Emperor Emeritus”—made a vow to voluntarily abdicate the throne to his heir in 1795, if he was blessed with a reign of 60 years. Remarkably, he reached this significant milestone, fulfilled his vow, and designated his fifteenth son, Prince Jia, as his successor. Post-retirement, the “Emperor Emeritus” commissioned approximately 20 “Taishang Huangdi” seals, which were executed in a variety of sizes, forms and materials. The present jade seal is from this select group, consigned by descendants of the original collector. Its carving and polish are exceedingly fine, as would be expected of a work commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor, a connoisseur of jades.
The October 14 sale of this jade seal confirms the strength of Freeman’s Asian Arts department in securing consignments of deep cultural significance, and in clients’ trust in our Asian Arts specialists’ expertise. Freeman’s impressive track record in presenting similar material at auction includes the 2011 sale of an important imperial white jade seal, also from the Qianlong period, that achieved a remarkable $3,725,000. Earlier this year, a Chinese carved Dragons and Waves vase shattered estimates to sell for $2,316,000, nine times its presale high estimate of $150,000-$250,000.
Alongside this important celadon-white jade seal, Freeman’s 256-lot Asian Arts auction will include such highlights as a Chinese carved celadon-glazed porcelain “萬”-mouthed vase, estimated at $300,000-$500,000; a large Chinese blue and white porcelain Ming-style Meiping vase from a Bucks County private collection, estimated at $40,000-$60,000; and an elegant Chinese white-glazed chrysanthemum dish, estimated at $15,000-$20,000.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/