SEAL MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
of shallow rounded form, the body delicately enamelled in the famille-rose palette with two fruiting and flowering twisted peach branches emerging from the underside of the dish, laden with five ripe fruit delicately coloured in shaded tones of pink and yellow-green, the leaves in tones of light and dark green, delicately curling at the edges, the blossoms in pink and white, with three iron-red bats swooping above, the underside with three additional fruit and two bats forming the wufu, the base with the six-character seal-mark in underglaze-blue
Sotheby's New York, 23rd September 1997, lot 344.
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 1st November 1999, lot 396.
It is rare to find Qianlong marked 'peach' dishes outside museum collections, although one from the C.T. Loo collection was sold in our New York rooms, 23rd September 1997, lot 343. Peach dishes of this type in similar size can be found in important museums, but they are all individually rendered and the execution and layout of the design varies considerably from piece to piece. The present dish is particularly delicate in its decorative concept. Of particular note are the subtle gradations of the shaded pink and pale green enamels, applied over a layer of opaque white, used to depict the skin of the peach, and the brilliance of the tones of translucent green and turquoise used for the long pointed leaves. The painting is most naturalistic and exceptionally brilliant. Most closely related in its painterly style is perhaps the dish in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 344, pl. 25.
Compare also a dish in the Nanjing Museum included in the exhibition Qing Imperial Porcelain of Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1995, cat.no. 100; one in the Musee Guimet, Paris, published in The World's Great Collections. Oriental Ceramics, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, col. pl. 50; and another example, formerly in the private collection of W.T. Walters and now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, included in Bushell, Oriental Ceramic Art, London, 1981 (1896), fig. 249 right.
Compare also the Yongzheng prototype of this design in the Nanjing Museum, op.cit., cat.no. 62; and another in the Percival David Foundation, London, included in the exhibition Imperial Taste. Chinese Ceramics from the Percival David Foundation, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1989, cat.no. 52.
The peach design is among the richest in its symbolism. The peach, one of the three fruits of the sanduo (Three Abundances) together with the pomegranate and finger citron, has long been associated with Shoulao, the God of Longevity. It is also a fruit commonly found as one of the fruits of the Four Seasons, together with cherry, pomegranate and persimmon. The idea conveyed here is a blessing for long life which continues for many springs. Another component of the peach design is the flying bats, a pun on fu (bat) which is the homophone of fu (prosperity). The complete meaning of the peach design therefore conveys a wish for happiness and long life.
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