Scented Women 女人.香

Scented Women 女人.香

Incense Culture & Female Life in Chinese Society

Discover more about incense culture and female life in Chinese society through a specially curated selection of works of art that featured in our November 2021 auction of Fine Asian & Islamic Works of Art.

For thousands of years, incense has been used in China not only for religious ceremonies but as an artistic element in daily life. Since Neolithic times, Chinese people burnt stones and wood for aromatherapy. Once more spices were introduced to China through the Silk Road during the Han dynasty (202BC – AD220), incense became widely used by nobility, literati and upper-class women in their daily life.

 

LARGE BRONZE INCENSE BURNER XUANDE MARK, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY 清 宣德款 銅鑄大香爐
LARGE BRONZE INCENSE BURNER | XUANDE MARK, QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY | 清 宣德款 銅鑄大香爐 | Sold for £5,500 incl premium

 

View Lot 11 ⇒

 

Thought to nourish the mind as well as the spirit, incense became an aid for reading and contemplation as well as part of traditional medicine, meditation, and religious rituals.

 

QINGBAI PORCELAIN 'PHOENIXES' BOX AND COVER SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY, 12TH-13TH CENTURY 南宋 青白釉雙鳳紋圓蓋盒QINGBAI PORCELAIN 'PHOENIXES' BOX AND COVER | SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY, 12TH-13TH CENTURY | 南宋 青白釉雙鳳紋圓蓋盒 | Sold for £1,250 incl premium

 

View Lot 24 ⇒

 

To use incense was considered elegant. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), fragrance had become a fashion symbol for aristocratic women. As recorded in Meng Liang Lu, by Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) literati Wu Zimu, appreciating incense was considered one of four “graceful daily things” along with tasting the tea, creating floral decorations, and arranging paintings on walls.

 

MARBLE-INSET ZITAN CORNER-LEG STAND QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY 清 紫檀嵌大理石香座

MARBLE-INSET ZITAN CORNER-LEG STAND | QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY | 清 紫檀嵌大理石香座 | Sold for £1,000 incl premium

 

View Lot 2 ⇒

 

Scented Women is a curated selection of works of art related to incense culture and female life in Chinese society. For the practice of incense ritual, we include “Three Friends of Incense”- the incense tool vase (lots 4-6), incense burner (lots 7-11, 14, 15, 17-19, 22, 25, 26), and incense powder box (lot 12, 21, 23, 24). Lot 2 is an interesting square marble-inset stand which would have allowed the “three friends of incense” to be moved around the home as shown in the 18th century woodblocks of the novel Jin Ping Mei.

 

LARGE LACQUERED AND PAPER 'BIRD WITH FLOWER' FAN QING DYNASTY, MID-19TH CENTURY 清 黑漆描金花鳥人物紋大折扇LARGE LACQUERED AND PAPER 'BIRD WITH FLOWER' FAN | QING DYNASTY, MID-19TH CENTURY | 清 黑漆描金花鳥人物紋大折扇 | Sold for £1,250 incl premium

 

View Lot 34 ⇒

 

Scented Women also features a number of interesting private collections including a group of 19th century Qing dynasty decorative fans (lots 29-36) followed by a series of beautiful, embroidered lady’s costume also dating from late 19th century China (lots 37-44).

 

ALBUM OF SEVENTEEN FINE PAINTINGS ON PITH PAPER QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY 清 廣東外銷各式人物通草畫
ALBUM OF SEVENTEEN FINE PAINTINGS ON PITH PAPER | QING DYNASTY, 19TH CENTURY | 清 廣東外銷各式人物通草畫 | Sold for £2,062 incl premium

 

View Lot 28 ⇒

 

A collection of vibrant pith paintings depict Qing dynasty aristocratic women at court (lot 28) and paintings on various ceramics wares (lots 48-53) also gives us insight into historic Chinese women’s life.

 

GROUP OF TEN FAMILLE ROSE 'LADY'S LIFE' DISHES QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY 清 粉彩仕女生活圖蝶戀花盤(一組十件)GROUP OF TEN FAMILLE ROSE 'LADY'S LIFE' DISHES | QING DYNASTY, 18TH-19TH CENTURY | 清 粉彩仕女生活圖蝶戀花盤(一組十件)| Sold for £2,375 incl premium

 

View Lot 53 ⇒

 


 

Auction Information 

 

FINE ASIAN & ISLAMIC WORKS OF ART

Friday 5th November 2021 | Live Online 

 

View the auction results ⇒

 

 


 

 

Asian Art Auctions & Valuations

 

Lyon & Turnbull’s international Asian Art department conduct frequent specialist auctions, in the various locations throughout the UK and via live online auctions. These auctions have a special focus on Chinese and Japanese ceramics, paintings, furniture, jade, textiles and works of art and are perfectly positioned to capitalise on the current strength in the Asian antiques markets.

 

Learn more ⇒

 

 

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