At the Imperial court in the 11th year of the Yongzheng reign matching 1732 CE, a younger son of the emperor shows promising qualities. The emperor agrees to entrust responsibilities to him during his absences from the palace and it is well known at the court that in his early teens he had been the favorite grandson of Kangxi.
The prince was 21 years old. His birth name was Hongli but he was officially named Bao for designating him as a prince of the first rank. He was also nicknamed Changchun Jushi, the Scholar of Everlasting Spring, for his early literary abilities.
Prince Bao already used seals for stamping on documents the various circumstances and moods of his studies. When he opened the Qianlong reign by succeeding his father three years later, he had already accumulated a collection of 70 seals.
The three Bao seals of the set for sale, 6.5, 6.2 and 5.7 cm high and not decorated, are in soapstones. One square and one oval seals are in the tianhuang variant and the other square seal is in steatite.
They were certainly made in the 11th Yongzheng year as some inscriptions from the next year are known. The use of triplets by Bao and later Qianlong was frequent. They are kept together in a zitan box 8.7 x 10.2 x 5.6 cm from the Qianlong period.
The Qianlong emperor will be the most enthusiastic user of imperial seals during his 60 year reign and his three post-reign years. Many of his later seals are in jade which had been temporarily in short supply during his early years.
SOLD for HK$ 46M including premium