The Qianlong emperor's preference for auspicious and novel designs is evident in the imperial wares of his reign, which frequently combined elements of various traditional motifs and formal elements to form innovative designs. The present vase is a good example of such originality, which presents the traditional ruyi, lotus flowers and lappets with Western acanthus leaves below the rim. The uniqueness of this piece is further enhanced by the incorporation of a celadon ground neck, and no other related vase appears to have been published.
Compare a pear-shape doucai vase in the form of a hu with tubular handles, decorated on either side with a similar central motif of a lotus flower framed by a ruyi that is also picked out in gilt and surrounded by curling acanthus leaves, illustrated in Yeh Pei-Lang, Gems of the Doucai, Taipei, 1993, pl. 117. For a blue and white vase of elongated ovoid form, with Qianlong reign mark and of the period, decorated with ruyi panels enclosing a lotus blossom alternating with floral decorations, see one in the Huaihaitang Collection, included in the exhibition Ethereal Elegance. Porcelain Vases of the Imperial Qing, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, cat. no. 108.
The acanthus leaf, thought to represent longevity and from one of the oldest flowers in the Mediterranean region, became a popular motif for decoration from the Ming period (1368-1644), which was carried throughout the Qing dynasty.
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