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Vase, cover and stand

Vase, cover and stand

  • Place of origin:

    China (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Nephrite, fashioned using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools and employing a variety of techniques. The wood has been carved with traditional woodworking tools.

  • Credit Line:

    Wells Bequest

  • Museum number:

    1557 to B-1882

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This vase and cover have each been fashioned from a single piece of nephrite jade, which is a hard and durable material that requires patience and skill to work. Although it is a hard material, when it has been worked to give fine edges or thicknesses, it can be prone to damage by sharp impacts or significant and rapid changes in temperature. Objects such as this, fashioned from nephrite, would have been destined for wealthy or notable people.

Physical description

A vase with cover fashioned in white to very pale green nephrite jade, with a wooden stand.
The vase is tall and of a generally narrow, rounded rectangular form. It stands on a flared and recessed foot which is smooth on the inside and which has been carved with vertical channels which run down to the scalloped foot rim. From the foot, the vase expands as it rises to approximately 75% of the overall height before reaching the neck which first narrows and then widens again to the rim. The interior is smooth and the exterior has been carved in relief with flowers and foliage. There is a crack that extends down from the rim.
The cover is narrow, rounded rectangular with a high dome with the rim having a raised inner ring for locating and securing the cover in position on the vase. The interior is smooth with a partial polish and the exterior has been carved with leaves and there is central, integral finial carved as an opening flower bud and which has been hollowed out.
The stand is oval with a contoured side and it has a roughly oval protrusion on the top, onto which the base of the vase can be located and secured. The stand's base is flat and there are four attached, dark fabric feet.

Place of Origin

China (made)

Materials and Techniques

Nephrite, fashioned using abrasives and abrasive-charged tools and employing a variety of techniques. The wood has been carved with traditional woodworking tools.


Length: 105.5 mm 1557-1882, Width: 56.6 mm 1557-1882 +/- 0.5, Height: 225.0 mm 1557-1882 +/- 0.5, Depth: 201.0 mm 1557-1882 +/- 0.5, Length: 69.7 mm 1557-1882, Width: 40.8 mm 1557-1882, Length: 57.4 mm 1557-1882, Width: 35.4 mm 1557-1882, Depth: 17.0 mm 1557-1882 +/- 0.5, Length: 96.7 mm 1557A-1882, Width: 73.4 mm 1557A-1882, Height: 30.5 mm 1557A-1882, Length: 70.5 mm 1557B-1882, Width: 42.0 mm 1557B-1882, Height: 49.2 mm 1557B-1882

Object history note

This vase, cover and stand were most probably fashioned in China and they were acquired by Arthur Wells who was a Nottingham solicitor and Clerk of the Peace. He was a keen traveller and was made a Fellow of the Geographical Society. He is considered to be the first private British collector of Chinese jade and his collection of jade and other hardstone objects from South Asia was on exhibition at the South Kensington Museum at the time of his death in 1882. This collection was left to the museum in his will - the Wells Bequest.

Descriptive line

Vase and cover, white nephrite jade, rounded rectangular, carved flowers and foliage, with wooden stand, China


Nephrite; Wood


Gemstones; Hardstone; Vases


South & South East Asia Collection

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