Whilst variations to the design elements of the individual vessels may suggest the possibility the group was united as a garniture some time prior to 1909, the enamel palette and specific decorative elements appear to carry through from one vessel to the next; namely the stiff green-ground blades enameled with archaistic strapwork and the alternating aubergine, white and yellow and red, blue and yellow lotus scrolls. Variations in the designs are similarly evident in a small number of extant five-piece cloisonné enamel altar garnitures. A Qianlong period square-form archaistic garniture set in the Uldry collection enameled with taotie to the censer and vases, but not to the candlesticks, is illustrated in Helmut Brinker and Albert Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné. The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, pl. 267. An 18th century altar garniture, sold in these rooms, 18th April 1989, lot 159, is enameled with shou characters to the censer and candlesticks, but not the vases. Similarly, the relatively small size of the central incense burner compared with the flanking candlesticks and vases can be seen on a Qianlong period white jade temple garniture from the Qing Court collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Jadeware (III), Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 113.
Compare a five-piece altar garniture of similar large size, but with different decorative motifs, from the altar of the sacrificial hall at the Mausoleum of Yong, Xinbing, Liaoning province, illustrated in Wang Qiheng, Zhongguo jianzhu yishu quanji [Architecture of Qing Mausoleums], vol. 8, Beijing, 2003, pl. 11; and another of slightly smaller size, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in Compendium of Collection in the Palace Museum. Enamels, vol. 3, Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pl. 7, together with a much smaller example, pl. 6.
A tripod censer of similar form and decoration to the one in the present lot, also in the Palace Museum Beijing, illustrated ibid., pl. 187, together with one fitted with a black-ground cover, pl. 175; and a bell-shaped candlestick applied with similar lotus petals, published in the Compendium of Collection in the Palace Museum. Enamels, vol. 4, Cloisonné in the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, pl. 39.
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