Ivory Carvings - Emperor & Empress on Thrones - Pair - 8 1/2

1918079

Ivory Carvings - Emperor & Empress on Thrones - Pair - 8 1/2"

This is a RARE MATCHED SET of an EMPEROR and EMPRESS on ELABORATE THRONES. The ivory alone weighs 4 3/4 POUNDS and each measures 8 ½Â" in height without the stand. This exquisitely carved and very unusual pair depicts the Emperor Kangxi and his wife the Empress seated on their elaborate thrones wearing traditional Ming robes and attributes and a Mandarin necklace. The Kangxi Emperor was the third Emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1661 to 1722. His reign of 61 years makes him the longest-reigning Chinese Emperor in history and one of the longest in the world. However, having ascended the throne aged seven, he did not exercise much, if any, control over the empire until later, that role being fulfilled by his four guardians and his grandmother, the Grand Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang. Kangxi, considered one of China's greatest Emperors, was a pivotal figure in Chinese history, having defeated the Three Feudatories, the Zheng Jing government on Taiwan who previously would not submit to Qing rule and the Tzarist Russia. Kangxi's reign brought about long-term stability and relative wealth after years of war and chaos.Emperor Kangxi was the architect of the period known as the "Prosperous Era of Kangxi and Qianlong" which lasted generations past his own life. The Mandarin necklace was part of the formal dress worn by all courtiers. The main string is composed of 108 small beads equally divided into groups of 27 by four larger beads called Â"Buddha headsÂ". Attached to one of these larger beads was a long tape decorated about half way down by a plaque and finished with a pendant. Also attached to the main string were three smaller strings of ten beads. Each string of ten beads divided into two sets of five. When the Chao zhu was worn, two of these subsidiary strings hung from the left shoulder and the other from the right. The long tape hung down the back. The Emperor holds a Mandarin necklace (Chao zhu) in his left hand and rests his right hand on his robe. The Emperor's throne displays two dragons on each side of his throne and deeply incised dragons chasing the flaming pearl of knowledge on the reverse of his throne as well as his clothing. The dragon is the symbol of luck, wealth, good fortune and wisdom. The dragon represents male vigor and fertility and is also the imperial emblem of the Emperor. The coat of arms of the Emperors from the Han period displayed two dragons contesting the fiery pearl. A five-clawed dragon was for imperial use only. A four-clawed dragon indicated a prince and a three-clawed dragon represented an official. The dragon and phoenix are the symbols for husband and wife and emperor and empress. The dragon ranks first amongst the 4 supernatural creatures. The Empress is holding a gift in her left hand while her right hand rests on her robe. The Empress's throne displays two phoenix birds on each side of her throne and deeply incised phoenix birds on her clothing and the reverse of her throne. The phoenix is the emblem of the Empress. It only appears during times of peace and prosperity. It ranks second of the 4 supernatural creatures. A train of small birds is always in attendance when the phoenix flies. The phoenix represents the 5 Human Qualities Â- Virtue, Duty, Correct Behavior, Humanity and Reliability. It also represents sun and warmth for the summer harvest and symbolizes peace, beauty and good fortune. The artist has done a superb job of deeply carving these beautiful pieces. The deep incising gives both depth and beauty to each piece. He has further enhanced their beauty with the subtle use of scrimshaw. The Emperor and Empress each sit atop a solid ivory base and have a lovely patina that comes only with age. Each stands a massive 8 ½Â" tall without the stand and the combined weight of the ivory is nearly 5 pounds! These carvings are 100% genuine elephant IVORY and in EXCELLENT CONDITION. They were HAND CARVED and HAND SCRIMSHAWED and SIGNED in China by a gifted master craftsman in the early 1900s. They have a lovely patina that nature has chosen to bestow upon them. These carvings are UNIQUE and exhibit beautiful IVORY GRAIN which is guaranteed to be clearly visible. The ivory has been highly polished and exquisitely detailed. The quality of the ivory, the quality of the carving and the quality of the scrimshaw work are all exceptional. These carvings were legally imported into the USA and can only be shipped to locations within the USA. This marvelous pair would make a stunning addition to any collection of fine Asia art and should only increase in value over time. The signature "Da Qing" translates to Â"The Great QingÂ" Dimensions (Each): 8.50" x 4.00" x 3.25" Weight (Total): 4 Pounds, 12 ounces Signatures: Engraved - Da Qing
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