mark and period of Qianlong
of finely potted cylindrical form, rising to a waisted neck with a flared mouth, intricately and skillfully painted to simulate cloisonné enamels with a medallion on each side enclosing three bats swooping towards a lotus bloom, from which lingzhi fungus rises, amid dense leafy stems issuing two ripe peaches, with cloud swirls below, all set amid further scrolling leafy stems interlinked with ruyi-heads and large bats suspending Buddhist emblems, the base and shoulder decorated with alternating floral sprigs and medallions enclosing a shou character, the neck with geometric patterns, with a classic scroll around the foot, the base with the six-character seal-mark in gilt
Sotheby's London, 9th November 1982, lot 322.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 29th October 1991, lot 275.
Christie's Hong Kong, 2nd November 1999, lot 545.
The present vase belongs to a group of special wares, commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor, that are painted in the brilliant famille-rose enamels against a strong background colour, such as turquoise, to enhance the overall design. The use of turquoise-ground is especially sucessful as it gives the piece a flamboyantly rich feel. The Qianlong emperor had a taste for ornamentation and show, and encouraged potters at the imperial kins at Jingdezhen to produce wares that combined a wide range of glaze and enamel colours in their repertoire. The present vase, which appears to be unique with no other similar example recorded, would have satisfied the emperor's stylish taste.
This vase is also special because the painting in gold outline simulates the effect of gilt wires outlining the colour areas, a technique used in cloisonné enameling. With the technical advances and virtuosity of porcelain production during the Qianlong period, potters were encouraged to experiment with different ways and techniques to satisfy the emperor's penchant for the curious. Porcelain made to imitate other materials was a technique perfected during Qianlong's reign. See a Qianlong vase imitating cloisonné enamel included in the exhibition Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, Christie's, London, 1993, cat.no. 101, and sold in these rooms, 26th October 2003, lot 121.
Compare also a famille-rose vase, with a Qianlong reign mark and of the period, of the same lantern-shape, illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 320; and a famille-rose covered bowl with the design of peach and bats and rosette over a gold ground, ibid., pl. 263.
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