Late 19th Century Chinese Duan Stone Screen
I purchased this at a flea market that my sister and I were selling at, and my sister was selling it for $20.
And I purchased it there in Brooklyn.
And how long ago?
‘Um, maybe two years.
It's a Chinese duan stone screen, and it dates from the late 19th century, so late Qing dynasty. It's a volcanic rock, or a volcanic slate. Now, duan is typically identified from its purple-to-green hue. One of the charming features of this plaque is the fact that the green natural hue has been carved in a cameo design. So it highlights the mountain peak, shown at the top, the pine and tree blossoms, the highly reliefed, carved pine tree issuing from the rock work at the base. So what they've done is incorporate the natural features of the stone, or slate, to show a cameo effect. It's been mounted with iron painting hooks. However, it was never meant to be hung on a wall. It would have been on a reticulated bracket base, and stood 24 inches tall or so.
The reason this is quite an unusual example is the fact that it's a large piece of carved slate. Most duan examples are small inkstones. The carving's very, very highly worked, so it's a good quarter-inch off the base of the stone. Ten years ago, this would have been worth between $800 and $1,000 at auction.
However, China's just become the second largest economy after America. The Chinese are investing huge sums of money in decorative art, Chinese works of art. It's difficult to find large pieces of duan stone carved in this cameo effect. For those reasons, in today's economy, at auction, this would be worth between $7,000 and $10,000.
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