Summer Palace jade pendant to highlight Bonhams sale at $159,000

Two jade imperial carvings, a pendant and a vase, which were taken from the Summer Palace in Beijing by a Scottish soldier, will top Bonhams' Fine Chinese Art auction on November 8.

Imperial Jade Pendant Summer Palace
The pendant was taken at the end of the second opium war in 1860

At the end of the second opium war in 1860, British and French troops entered the Forbidden City, following the defeat of the Chinese forces. It was this move that led to the Convention of Peking being signed by the regent Prince Gong, and saw the Kowloon Peninsula handed over to the British.

Present during the strike on the Forbidden City was Captain George Forbes-Robertson, a Scottish officer of the 67th Regiment of Foot. Like most soldiers, dazzled by the array of wealth displayed within the Summer Palace's walls, Forbes-Robertson decided to take home a few gifts for his loved ones in Scotland - a pendant and vase.

The pendant was given to his brother Arthur and then passed to their mother in 1863. Finely carved from white jade, it features two pairs of phoenix (often associated with China's empresses) that surround four characters, which translate as: "benefit for sons and grandsons forever".

Proceeds from the pendant will certainly benefit the sons of the Scots family that consigned it, with an estimate of £60,000-100,000 ($95,500-159,000).

The hanging vase is expected to bring between £40,000 and £60,000. Complete with its cover, it is crafted from pale green jade and is carved with a taotie mask at each side, beneath a band of mythical beasts.

We will bring you full results in November. Sign up to our free weekly newsletter here, which provides a round-up of the week's top stories and exclusive investment advice.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock