Certainly passionate about this activity that helped him to define and maintain his role as the Son of Heaven, Qianlong owned no less than 1,800 seals that can be divided into two categories : the jade seals, often adorned with dragons in the round, presented to the emperor for birthdays and major events, and the seals for his common use.
On September 23 in Toulouse, Primardeco sells as lot 1 here linked on the website of the Ivoire-France auction group a seal 9.2 cm high on a square base 4.2 x 4.2 cm, exceptional by its inscription in four characters Qianlong Chen Han meaning "written with Qianlong's brush" to authenticate the writings made by his own hand. This beige steatite piece has the shape of a steep mountain incised in very low relief with scenes of good auguries including the yin and the yang.
Only one other example of Qianlong Chen Han seal is known. It is similar in form and kept to the Forbidden City of Beijing.
A seal of material, shape, size and decor similar to the lot that is now coming at auction was sold for € 600K including premium by Armor-Enchères on November 24, 2013. It inscribed a sentence coined by the emperor inspired by an ancient poem.
SOLD for € 980K before fees