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Rarities by Mr I. C. Su

Gold plated pots like these, with greyish-green nephrite and cloisonné ornaments, were part of the collection in the old summer palace of the emperors of the Qing period, 1644 - 1911.

The main focus of this richly decorated pot are the greyish-green ornaments of nephrite jade showing carved dragons and other lucky symbols. Nephrite is a variety of jade that occurs in shades of greyish to dark green up to almost black.

The central ring of the pot is engirdled with gold plated copper rings, inlaid with red and blue jewels, to underline the extraordinary value of the pot.

The separate base of the pot is an unsurpassed masterpiece of the enamel technique.

The pot was a birthday present for emperor Qianlong, which translated means "Heavenly Prosperity".


Mr I.C. Su says about this pot:

On an auction of parts of the collection of the old summer palace, I was lucky to acquire this piece, the only flower pot of the auction.

As a part of my collection it will be also part of my family's heirloom.

In the year 2000 the piece was put to auction by Christie's in Hongkong. The Chinese gouvernment protested against the auctioning of artefacts from the old summer palace. But due to the special history of these pieces, and despite the protests from China, many collectors and traders from different countries took part in the bidding. China managed to acquire four artworks for a net value of over 50 Mio HK$. This shows that China values its national treasures a lot, which will probably influence the future auction market in ways that we cannot yet foresee.

Pictures by the pot's current owner, Mr I. C. Su

Translation from Chinese Sources: Yang Li

Text adaption: Peter Krebs

Translation: Stefan Ulrich


Gold Plated Pair of Pots with Jade Inlay

For gold plating, the gold is dissolved in mercury and then applied to the surface of the copper ware. Then the product is heated, which makes the mercury dissolve. The gold sticks to the surface and is then calendered (from fr. calandre = to roll out, to stamp, to smoothen) and polished.


Gold plating is a special technique of copper manufacturing during the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).

The technique is traditionally used for statues in Chinese Buddhism. The techniques of working with gold and copper were adopted from India. China started using these techniques around 140 CE and improved and further developed them until around 200 CE. Due to the close relationship between Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions, the roots of these techniques moved to China during these times.

These pots from the Qianlong period ("Heavenly Prosperity"), 1736 to 1795, were also put to auction by Sotheby's in Hongkong.


Also this beautiful pot is located in the collection of Mr. I.C. Su



Pictures by the pot's current owner, Mr I. C. Su

Translation from Chinese Sources: Yang Li

Text adaption: Peter Krebs

Translation: Stefan Ulrich 

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