This spectacular piece was discovered by our owner and founder, René Boissevain sitting forlornly in a basement in Hong Kong. When he enquired about purchasing it, René was originally told quite definitely that it was not for sale. “ It was covered in dust, but when I scraped some away I could see the quality of the stone, and the artistry of the carving”.
René tried again on his next visit to Hong Kong a year later and this time was told “maybe” , but a price was mentioned that was just too high, although René still didn’t give up. “When I got home, I started sending him e-mails about the sculpture and eventually we negotiated on the price”. The fact that the owner seemed to know little if anything about the origins of the carving meant that René had an advantage and eventually a price was agreed to.
After the sculpture arrived here at The Caves we started making enquiries about its likely origins. We sent high resolution images to several museums, as well as the fa- mous auction houses of Christies and Sothebys , all to no avail. The best information we were able to get that it was a “major piece” and was probably commissioned by “someone of significant importance”. It was confirmed that the style of the art was consistent with the style that was common in China during the Qing dynasty.
Regardless of its origins , our “Ancient Chinese Lapis Sculpture” is regularly nominated as favourite for many of the people who tour The Crystal Caves. It is housed in a special glass enclosure in the Grande Grotto of The Caves and is a truly worthy addition to the many other specimens on display.