An imperial jade seal produced in China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) is to lead an Inscriptions: History as Art sale at Sotheby's New York.
Valued at $1m-1.5m, the piece is inscribed with the words Da Guan Tang Bao (Seal of the Great Hall of Observation) and four poems by the Qianlong emperor.
A sample reads: "Crossing the river to the north on this little boat,
"To stay for two days in the palace, having meditation.
"The flowers in the south are still in bloom,
"The shadows of trees in the summer courtyard grow darker."
The subject of the poems concerns a visit by the emperor to the Da Guan Tang in Yangzhou and references his day to day duties as the administrative head of the empire ("It is essential to comfort the people, and carry out policies.")
A 6th century Buddhist stone votive stele from the Northern Wei dynasty is another highlight of the March 17 auction, with a valuation of $500,000-700,000.
One section reads: "Thus the four brothers and disciples of the Buddha - Gao Falong, Gao Shizhen, Gao Shibao and Gao Baosheng - knowing what it's like to charge through fords, and plant trees against the underworld, have respectfully created this stone [image].
"In the first place it is for the benefit of His Majesty the Emperor."
The author is listed as "Gao Shenpo, Disciple of the Buddha, General of Pacification of Remote Regions, and formerly the former Governor of Haoshi Prefecture."
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