Lot 669
  • 669

AN 'IMPERIAL TRIBUTE' YELLOW-GROUND CANTON ENAMEL TRIPOD INCENSE BURNER MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG

Estimate
500,000 - 700,000 HKD
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Description

  • copper
of globular form supported on three cylindrical feet issuing from champlev√© blue and gilt lion masks, decorated around the exterior on the yellow ground with multicoloured lotus wreathed in scrolling foliage, below blue-ground ruyi and raised gilt-bronze petal panels around the shoulder, the domed cover similarly decorated with lotus, and three gilt-bronze lobed panels reticulated with archaistic dragons encircling a dragon finial, the base inscribed in blue enamel with a four-character mark within a double square further encircled by pink chilong and stiff leaves

Condition

The censer is generally in good condition. The gilt knob appears to have been detached and re-affixed and may possibly be a replacement (although stylistically consistent with the object). There are some cracks in the white ground at the joint to underside of the knob which have been stabilized. There are further stabilisation and overpaint on the interior waisted neck of the censer. There is also some expected occasional minor enamel flakes with minor retouching or some soiling on the surface as visible on the photo but generally the censer is in very good presentation state.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Catalogue Note

The elegant shape, lavish colouration and meticulous floral scroll on this censer are characteristic of painted enamel wares made by Guangzhou artists employed to produce tribute items for the Qing court. Since the technique of enamelling on metal was introduced by Jesuit missionaries residing in Guangzhou around 1684, the craftsmen of Guangzhou proved so proficient in the new craft that by 1716 the Kangxi Emperor is known to have summoned two artisans from there to work in the enamel workshop of the Imperial Household Department in the Palace. By the Qianlong Emperor’s reign, the art of enamelling on metal had reached exceptionally high standards, and this art-form continued to receive the Emperor’s foremost interest and patronage.

This censer is unusual in its shape and floral scroll decoration. The compressed globular form, elegant cabriole legs and thick gilding under the neck are reminiscent of contemporary censers in cloisonné enamel, such as a large Qianlong mark and period censer with similar upright handles sold at Christie’s New York, 17th September 2008, lot 190; the large blooms of the lotus scroll are on the other hand reminiscent of Kangxi and Yongzheng painted enamel ware.