An Exceptional and Extremely Rare Chinese Imperial White Jade Ghanta, Qing Dynasty, the stem inscribed with a four character Qianlong reign mark, and of the period 1736-95. 18.2cm high 10.2cm diameter.
The dome delicately carved with lotus petals and Tibetan bija syllables, vajra and dharmachakra motifs. The handle carved as a half-vajra surmount above a Buddha's head.
The Hon. Mrs Mary Anna Marten OBE, Crichel House, Dorset.
Purchased prior to 1953.
The bell or ghanta, represents the female aspect of wisdom and supreme knowledge and combined with the thunderbolt or vajra, they form the most important symbols in Tibetan Buddhism. Together they represent the perfect union of wisdom and compassion, the two principles necessary for attaining enlightenment. Other ritual objects include the dagger or phurba, skull-cup, and thigh-bone trumpet.
An almost identical white jade ghanta in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Jadeware (III), Volume 42, p.134, no. 112. Another of a slightly different design, in the collection of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, is illustrated in Treasures from Snow Mountains, Gems of Tibetan Cultural Relics, by Chen Xiejun, & Wang Qingzheng, p.131, no.51, Shanghai Museum.
A third example, again of a slightly differing form, was sold at Beaussant Lefèvre, Paris 18th November 2005, lot 37, cf. Orientations, Volume 36, no.7, October 2005, p.29.