Tang dynasty white jade foliate cup

Rasti Fine Art: Works of Art 2023

This year’s selection of works of art from Rasti Fine Art are drawn from private collections and range from the Warring States period to the Qing dynasty. 

Highlights include an exquisite Tang dynasty white jade foliate cup of such rarity that it can only be compared to an almost identically decorated oval octagonal cup excavated in a hoard at Hejiacun, Xian, in Shaanxi province and dated Southern and Northern dynasty to early Tang, now in the collection of the Shaanxi History Museum.

This cup is delicately carved and in the form of a flower, with the foot also worked into the shape of a flowerhead. Later interpretations of this type of cup are given handles and are less subtle in their decoration. It was previously in a Japanese collection and is accompanied by a wood box with an inscription.

Cinnabar lacquered Longquan incense burnerAnother extremely rare and unusual object is a cinnabar lacquered Longquan incense burner. Nader Rasti explains, "Despite extensive research I was unable to find a previously published example of cinnabar lacquered porcelain, although I do recollect a Song or Yuan dynasty Junyao bowl covered in 18th century cinnabar simulating brocade
during my time working at Christie’s London in the 1990s. This object remains a mystery as to why someone would choose to cover porcelain with lacquer. 

The superb carving is evident on first inspection and can be closely compared to cinnabar lacquer from the late 15th to early 16th century, placing it to the Hongzhi (1488–1505) or Zhengde (1506–21) period. 

The censer was previously at John Sparks Ltd, after which it was in the collection of Michael John Gillingham (1933–99), the chairman of John Sparks from 1976–91, and next in an English private collection.

Click here to view the full catalogue of Works of Art 2023.