A rare 17th century Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) jade water pot is to be sold in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society charity at an auction house in the English county of Berkshire this week.
The pot is carved in the form of a chimera, a fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body and serpent’s tail, and has an estimated value of 5,000 to 8,000 pounds ($7,000-$11,200) when it goes to auction in Dreweatts’ upcoming Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Sale on Wednesday.
The piece was donated by a family following the owner’s death, and all funds will go to the Alzheimer’s Society, the auctioneers said.
The daughter of the previous owner, who declined to be named, said her father became interested in jade when he worked in East Asia and started his collection then.
“Jade has been in the family all through my life,” the daughter said. “My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and when he died, he left the jade ornament in his will to my mother, who was a supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society. Although the jade wasn’t left in her will to the Alzheimer’s Society, she always maintained that she would like the jade to be kindly gifted to them when she died.”
Dreweatts said jade was much admired during the Ming Dynasty and noted that creamy white translucent jade, such as the piece in the sale, was among the most popular.
Tao Yingwen, Chinese and Asian art specialist at Dreweatts, said: “Jade carvings from the Ming Dynasty, such as this, are highly prized for the beautiful detail in their carving, which demonstrates the wonderful skill of the stone cutter at the time. With such expertise these artisans were able to put so much life into a piece of stone.”
The Alzheimer’s Society said every penny donated to the charity makes a difference.
“Now more than ever, people living with dementia need our help, they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, both physically and through devastating social isolation. Therefore, proceeds from the sale of this kindly donated item will help fund Alzheimer’s Society’s vital services, to ensure that no one has to face dementia alone,” the charity said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the United Kingdom, with this number expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
The cost of care for people with dementia in Britain is 34.7 billion pounds, the charity said, and this is predicated to rise to 94.1 billion pounds during the next two decades.