Qing Dynasty Dark Green Jade Basin

Value (2007) | $25,000 Insurance$30,000 Insurance

GUEST:
Well, I bought it at auction in 1993 in Lexington. My husband and I both are interested in Asian things, and so I had the opportunity to buy it and I thought it was a good price and I didn't really know for sure what it was other than I thought it was probably some kind of jade. But it was listed as spinach nephrite.

APPRAISER:
What did this cost? Do you remember?

GUEST:
Well, I can't really remember. And I couldn't find a receipt for it, but I want to say maybe about $800.

APPRAISER:
Okay. This is made of jade, which you know.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's carved on the interior with lotus flowers and lotus leaves and branches. And it's a real profusion of that. But it is recessed about three inches, so it's a shallow wash basin. So this actually would have sat on a wooden stand and would have had water in it. Now, the lotus decoration in the center, and also the lotus vines and chrysanthemum on the border, which are accompanied by bats, are all auspicious symbols that have connotations of good luck and prosperity. I believe that this was very likely part of a wedding trousseau.

GUEST:
Oh, that's interesting.

APPRAISER:
There probably were other dressing table articles, so this would have belonged to somebody who was quite a wealthy person. The color of the jade itself, which is technically called nephrite, often is referred to, because of the dark green color, as spinach, just because of the color.

GUEST:
Color. So that's where that comes from.

APPRAISER:
Now, the fact that this is a wash basin means that this preceded the days of running water. So that helps to date it.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
My sense would be that this was made in China...

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
...during the Qing Dynasty in the late 18th, early 19th century. The quality is quite good. The carving is certainly above average. What are you using it for?

GUEST:
I use it for flower arrangements. It sits on my table at Christmas with protea in it-- red protea.

APPRAISER:
Okay, which is a good thing to do.

GUEST:
And I use it... just this morning, when I got it ready to bring, I had a vase of sunflowers in it.

APPRAISER:
One of the things I've noticed-- there's some candle wax. You're not putting candles in it?

GUEST:
Well, I've had candles next to it and it's...

APPRAISER:
I would say that's probably...

GUEST:
Probably not a good idea.

APPRAISER:
...not a good idea. Because one of the things that can happen if this, for some reason, were to get hot...

GUEST:
Uh-huh, it could crack?

APPRAISER:
It's possible that this could crack. Because you'll notice that, for instance, there's a fissure running right here...

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
through this section...

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
And then it's possible that could develop into something because those are the areas of weakness. And that's part of the natural... That's the natural features in the stone. Now, one of the things that's also here that's nice is you see that there's a continuing lotus scroll on the exterior, because that part of it, as it sat in the base, would have been visible from the side. I would recommend an insurance figure for this of about $25,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my God.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
Okay? Wow.

APPRAISER:
$25,000, maybe even $30,000.

GUEST:
Whoa, oh, my gosh.

APPRAISER:
That's what you would be expected to pay if you went to an antique shop that dealt in Chinese art and bought this today.

GUEST:
Wow, that's amazing. Oh, I'm excited. I know my husband's looking and he's going, "I can't believe this."

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lark Mason Associates
New York, NY
Appraised value (2007)
$25,000 Insurance$30,000 Insurance
Event
Louisville, KY (July 28, 2007)
Period
Qing Dynasty
Form
Bowl
Material
Jade

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