CHINE

Lot 159
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Estimation :
100000 - 150000 EUR
Result without fees
Result : 200 000EUR
CHINE
Large clock with automata in the form of a basin containing lotus leaves, buttons or seeds in gilded copper; the buttons blooming at the same time as the control of a music box; the surface of the basin representing foliage and fish in a simulated wave. The basin in cloisonné enamel with rich decoration of foliage, dragons, polychrome characters...standing out on a celestial blue background; it also presents four panels in "Canton" enamel with decoration for the largest, of a scene animated with three characters, and for the two small ones of lake landscapes; they are framed with friezes in chased and gilded bronze with foliage and foliage set with coloured glass, decoration which we find again on the collar in alternation of colours. The enamelled dial (one chip) indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes in Arabic numerals in increments of fifteen; the pierced steel hands; the mechanism (probably European and adapted for the occasion in China) controls the bell and triggers the music box.
Late Qing period.
H: 165 cm.
After reaching Europe, the fascination with instruments for counting and demonstrating time was introduced into imperial China in the 17th century, evidently by European missionaries mainly from France and England. Gradually the nucleus of an imperial clock collection took shape, initially with imported models, but also with genuine creations made by European craftsmen attached to the court and by Chinese clockmakers trained by them. Throughout the Qing Dynasty, the successive reigns of the emperors Shunzhi (1644-1661), Kangxi (1662-1722), Yongzheng (1723-1735) and Qianlong (1736-1795) were marked by a growing interest in clocks, the most elaborate and sophisticated of which were "musical and automaton". Without talking about a passion, the Emperor, through a powerful centralized administration, organized his collection. Thus, from the beginning of the 18th century, many clocks were included in the Emperor's collection, which led to the creation of a "musical clocks bureau" and a "clock-making bureau", both of which were responsible for managing the collection, acquiring clocks from abroad, maintaining them and making new models, most of which are kept throughout the Forbidden City and other imperial palaces.
Thus, for more than two centuries many clocks were made and even today some of them are kept in Chinese public collections. Finally, concerning the model that we propose, let us particularly note that two similar clocks are listed: the first musical clock, also with automata, is exhibited in the "Hall of Watches and Clocks" of the famous Forbidden City in Beijing; it is distinguished by its original composition, consisting of a copper and cloisonné enamel bowl made in the Province of Guandong containing a French-made music box, as well as a clock movement and mechanism designed by the "Bureau de l'Horlogerie" which operate leaves and lotus flowers blooming to reveal a fruit; the second, also dated from the late Qing period and enclosed in a bowl made entirely of chased, guilloched and gilded copper, was recently sold on the Paris Art Market (Hôtel Drouot, Maîtres Gros & Delettrez, 5 June 2019, lot 218).
Experts : Cabinet ETIENNE-MOLINIER
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