Lot 51A
  • 51A


200,000 - 300,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • porcelain
each compressed globular body rising from a short spreading foot to a tall cylindrical neck, brightly enamelled around the body with leafy lotus strapwork and Buddhist emblems reserved on a green ground, all between lotus lappet, ruyi and stiff leaf bands at the foot and shoulder, the gilt rim encircled by a spearhead band, the interior and base glazed turquoise and inscribed with an iron-red six-character seal mark within a square cartouche reserved in white


Acquired by the mother of the present owner in the UK, prior to 1965.
Thence by descent.

Catalogue Note

Finely potted and decorated with an intricate design of the bajixiang interspersed amongst foliate lotus blooms, these vases exemplify the Qianlong Emperor’s pursuit of innovative designs. Qianlong took an active interest in the work of various imperial manufactories in his empire, particularly the Jingdezhen imperial kilns, bringing his personal influence to steer the workshop’s artistic direction according to his taste for ornamentation. By working closely with Tang Ying, his virtuoso kiln supervisor, he encouraged potters at the imperial kilns to explore a wide range of shapes, colours and designs in their repertoire. As a result, a range of innovative wares were produced, such as these vases.


The familiar design of lotus scrolls have been injected with a hint of novelty through the inclusion of the bajixiang on a green ground, a colour that was developed in the Qianlong period and embodied contemporaneity. The leafy scrolls have been adapted to incorporate the rococo style of Western acanthus leaves, thus exuding a sense of elegant exoticism in the overall design while remaining firmly rooted in Chinese tradition.


Qianlong vases decorated with the bajixiang and floral patterns are known on vases of various shapes and colour grounds; compare a ruby-ground baluster vase with ruyi sceptre handles, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains with Cloisonné Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 127; a  turquoise ground ovoid vase also with ruyi sceptre handles, from the Alfred Morrison collection and the Fonthill Heirlooms, sold at Christie’s London, 18th October 1971, lot 82, and again in our Hong Kong rooms, 7th October 2010, lot 2132, from the J.T. Tai collection; a yellow-ground bottle vase sold in our New York rooms, 21st November 1973, lot 558; and a pear-shape vase with a white ground, sold in these rooms, 20th June 2001, lot 29.