128
128
A RARE AND IMPRESSIVE CLOISONNE-ENAMEL AND GILT-BRONZE FIVE-PIECE ALTAR GARNITURE (WUGONG)
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
Stima
300.000500.000
Lotto. Venduto 550,000 USD (Prezzo di aggiudicazione con commissione d'acquisto)
VAI AL LOTTO
128
A RARE AND IMPRESSIVE CLOISONNE-ENAMEL AND GILT-BRONZE FIVE-PIECE ALTAR GARNITURE (WUGONG)
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
Stima
300.000500.000
Lotto. Venduto 550,000 USD (Prezzo di aggiudicazione con commissione d'acquisto)
VAI AL LOTTO

Details & Cataloguing

Chinese Art from Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

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New York

A RARE AND IMPRESSIVE CLOISONNE-ENAMEL AND GILT-BRONZE FIVE-PIECE ALTAR GARNITURE (WUGONG)
QING DYNASTY, QIANLONG PERIOD
comprising: a tripod incense burner, a pair of gu vases and a pair of candlesticks; the censer with a globular body supported on tall cylindrical legs, with a pair of upright loop handles, the body with a band of raised gilt bosses beneath the rim, the pierced domed cover surmounted by a coiled dragon finial; the gu vases with a bulging middle section below a trumpet mouth and above a splayed foot; the candlesticks raised on a bell-shaped lower section, rising to a circular drip pan with flaring sides supporting later added gilt-bronze ornaments of cylindrical form with coiled dragons, servings as covers for the candle prickets, each vessel intricately enameled with lotus scrolls, lappet bands and archaistic taotie masks reserved on a turquoise-blue ground (6)
Height of largest 24 in., 61 cm
Leggi la scheda di conservazione Leggi la scheda di conservazione

Provenienza(e)

Collection of Samuel P. Avery (1847–1920).
Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, c. 1909 to 1941.
Ralph M. Chait, New York, 1945.

Bibliografia

John Getz, Catalogue of the Avery Collection of Ancient Chinese Cloisonnés, Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, 1912, pl 16. 

Nota a catalogo

This five-piece garniture is notable for its large size, reflecting the technical developments achieved by cloisonné craftsmen active in the 18th century who were able to produce high quality pieces of considerable proportions. The design on each vessel has been carefully executed; the layout of the thin wires forming the cloisons are precise and well planned and the bright enamel colors are all delicately blended and sophisticatedly done. Wares of this type were probably produced in one of the Palace Workshops, located in the Forbidden City, or in a private workshop in Guangzhou.

Known as wugong (the five offerings), wares of this type were made in the finest materials to serve as ceremonial furnishings in the many shrines, temples and ritual spaces within the compounds of the Imperial palaces. A universal monarch at the center of the world, the Qianlong emperor lent his support to a variety of religious institutions, including Daoist and Buddhist temples, as well as Manchu shamanic shrines and the buildings and altars that housed the so-called ‘State Religion’, the worship of impersonal Heaven. Altar garnitures typically comprise an incense burner, placed in the center, flanked by two candleholders and gu-shaped vases, all placed on tall stools, as seen in a 20th century picture of the Daxiongbaodian of the Tanzhe Temple near Beijing, illustrated in Helmut Brinker and Albert Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné. The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, p. 53, fig. 29. These ceremonial wares were conventionally modeled after archaic bronzes from the Shang and Zhou dynasties. By the Song dynasty this practice had already been established, but abandoned at the beginning of the Ming, when the Hongwu emperor decreed that daily utensils were to be used during state rituals. It was however reinstated in the first part of the Qianlong emperor’s reign, reflecting the emperor’s interest in the correct performance of ceremonies and rituals. Notably, the vessels that constitute this lot, combine an archaic form with designs popular during the Qing dynasty, evident in the ding incense burner, which is decorated with taotie masks over a geometric design that simulates luxurious textile brocade.

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.

Chinese Art from Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts

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New York