3627
3627
AN INLAID CARVED PORCELAIN AND SOAPSTONE ZITAN REVOLVING SCREEN WITH IMPERIAL POEMS
SEAL MARKS AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,220,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
3627
AN INLAID CARVED PORCELAIN AND SOAPSTONE ZITAN REVOLVING SCREEN WITH IMPERIAL POEMS
SEAL MARKS AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 3,220,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

|
Hong Kong

AN INLAID CARVED PORCELAIN AND SOAPSTONE ZITAN REVOLVING SCREEN WITH IMPERIAL POEMS
SEAL MARKS AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
one side of the revolving rectangular porcelain screen inlaid with carved porcelain and soapstone with a butterfly fluttering above delicate chrysanthemum blooms borne on thin gnarled stems, the lower left section with two seal marks reading Qianlong chenhan ('the Qianlong Emperor's own mark') and weiyi weijing ('be precise, be undivided') respectively, the reverse with an excerpt of an imperial poem in running script followed by the same seal marks, all against a dark-brown glazed ground, enclosed in a frame carved with scrollwork, the zitan stand adorned with reticulated gilt-decorated celadon-glazed flanges modelled in the form of floral scrolls and kui dragons
78.5 cm, 30 7/8  in.
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Catalogue Note

This striking screen has been executed with meticulous detail and great skill in trompe l'oeil inlaid onto a flat surface. The production of screens of this type required the cooperation of various Palace workshops, where skilled craftsmen paid particular attention to recreating elements of the design in their specialised medium. In its novelty, subject and complexity of production, it represents the Qianlong Emperor's penchant for the novel, while spanning a range of literati disciplines including poetry and calligraphy.

In both technical expertise and script, the inlaid calligraphy on this screen is noteworthy. The script closely resembles that of Tang Ying (1683-1756), Superintendent of the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen during the Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns. While he is most celebrated for his work at the kilns and his ability to translate the emperors' tastes into porcelain, he was also an accomplished calligrapher and poet. The masterful dexterity of potters of the Qianlong period is represented in the striking fluidity of the porcelain strokes, which upon first glance appear to have been rendered with a brush. It is extremely rare to find calligraphic porcelain inlay, although a pair of panels with unglazed seals of Tang Ying reading Tang Ying shu ('calligraphy by Tang Ying') was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th May 2013, lot 2012; and another pair is illustrated in Chugoku bijutsu shiho ten, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 59. 

The writing style of the panels also closely compares to the calligraphy of Tang Ying found on porcelain wares; see a waterpot in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Qingdai yuyao ciqi, vol. 1, pt. II, Beijing, 2005, p. 9; a brushpot sold in these rooms, 8th April 2011, lot 3073; and a cup sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1st December 2009, lot 1921.

The crossover between porcelain and this piece is also seen in the revolving nature of this screen. Most double-sided screens would have been mounted as table screens, able to be seen from both sides. While this screen also features a mount, which is unusual yet lavish in its combination of porcelain with zitan, it has an added revolving function. In this sense it is reminiscent of revolving vases, an innovation of the Qianlong period and a product of Tang Ying's creative genius that would have satisfied the emperor's fondness for technically challenging and innovative designs.

Important Chinese Art

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Hong Kong