Jadeite Objets D'art: The Mifflin Smith Collection

Front Cover
Rio Grande Trust, Feb 1, 2005 - Antiques & Collectibles - 256 pages
Jadeite Objets d’Art Indeed the last great aesthetic discovery of the Emporer Qianlong, reigning from 1736 to 1796, hidden high amid the impenetrable forested hills of remotest Myanmar. Only decades later in 1863 would the French mineralogist Alexis Damour name the stone jadeite. This stone emerged in interesting times, an artistic golden age. The historical carvings of China for nearly seven millennia had given way to a new era. By 1880 impressionism, though disdained early in its day, was well entrenched within the artistic milieu. Affluent British, Americans and to a lesser extent the continental Europeans, the commercial class if you will, demanded new ideas and ornate objects, looking to decoration as a mark at once of quality and change. With centuries of training and skills in the arts and crafts, Chinese artisans developed a unique design and style, in effect an infrastructure, that aesthetically captured the romance and mystery of the orient, and comfortably served as the backdrop for c! arved flowers and dragons alike in rare and important jadeite carvings - carvings of both cabochons and cabinet pieces. The best of both were frequently glorified in opulent settings and homes of the affluent, a fashion trend that continued for decades, concentrated as to its high season from 1900 to 1920, yet ranging from perhaps as early as 1880 to 1940, arguably ending with the all consuming world war. Winds of change were blowing and by 1950 modernism had arrived and with that age the recent past and its relics migrated to the nations’ attics and archives, at least under the best of circumstances. And like those with even the sincerest of intentions and with the greatest respect for the past, the modernists had their respective new era lives to lead. Records lost, writings long since misplaced, carvings cautiously placed in overcrowded musty Victorian attics. And so for decades, the light has been dimly lit, perhaps as Qianlong would have wanted it, yet history has a way! of locating those pilgrims of the past who in retrospect offered a vibrant message and timeless imagery. Jadeite Objets d’Art brings to light an impressive quantity of information on the stone as well as an in-depth analysis of the epic works from the early, middle and late periods these works of art flourished. It features in vivid color many works that have never been published and focuses on seminal carvings, many of which have rarely been seen. No single publication, coupled with an extensive array of images of jadeite carvings, has heretofore concentrated solely on this dramatic and mysterious stone. Significant archival and original records have been carefully and thoroughly researched. Additionally the reader will find critical information on the stone and related data including an historical perspective, mineralization, commercialization and evaluation considerations as well as a cataloged listing of objects from an extensive and important collection and a discussion of certain of the techniques utilized by master artisans of these carvings.

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