A RARE RUBY-GROUND FAMILLE-ROSE 'FLORAL' WALL VASE SEAL MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
1,500,000 - 2,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed
well modelled and flattened at the back, the ovoid body sweeping up from a short splayed foot to a broad shoulder and waisted neck, the neck flanked by a pair of archaistic scroll handles, all resting on a trompe l'oeil gilt-decorated faux-bois stand, the body centred with a slightly sunken gilt-bordered lobed cartouche enclosing a scene depicting gnarled and intertwining foliate stems issuing multi-coloured floral buds and blooms, including camellia blossoms, two small butterflies rendered fluttering nearby, the cartouche surrounded by stylised lotus blooms borne on scrolling foliage, below a descending bat suspending a tasselled chime painted on the neck, all reserved on a rich ruby-red ground, a pendent ruyi band picked out along the mouthrim, below a dotted band repeated at the foot, the footrim further bordered with a floral frieze, the interior enamelled turquoise, the 'wood' base gilt-inscribed with a horizontal four-character seal mark
A V-shaped piece of approx. 2 cm long has been restuck to the mouthrim with seemingly no losses. The piece is otherwise in good condition and was fired to perfection.
"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."
This vase illustrates the dexterity of 18th century imperial porcelain manufacturers at Jingdezhen who produced an immense variety of styles and constantly devised further novelties to satisfy the Qianlong Emperor's predilection for idiosyncratic forms and designs. During the Qianlong reign, and often under his personal supervision, simulations that were often difficult to distinguish from the 'real' were produced and these pieces became the trompe-l'oeil
of ceramics. This vase with stand simulating wood is a good example of the technique of combining the 'real' with the trompe-l'oeil
. Zhu Yan in Tao shuo
[Description of Ceramics], published in 1774, noted that "in fact, among all the works of art in gold, embossed silver, chiselled stone, lacquer, mother-of-pearl, bamboo and wood, gourd and shell, there is not one that is not now produced in porcelain, a perfect imitation of the original (fang xiao er xiao
Wall vases of this type were an innovation of the Qianlong period. Flattened at the back as though cut in half and often made in pairs, these vases were commonly hung inside sedan chairs. In a poem inscribed on one porcelain wall vase, the Qianlong Emperor commented on the pleasure provided by these vases when filled with flowers, which allowed him to enjoy their fragrance while the "red dust" (cares of the world) could not reach him (see the catalogue to the exhibition China. The Three Emperors 1662-1795, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2005, pl. 445).
Four other Qianlong mark and period wall vases with similar simulated stands, in the Huaihaitang collection, were included in the exhibition Ethereal Elegance. Porcelain Vases of the Imperial Qing, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, cat. nos. 129-32; one, similarly decorated with a floral panel against a pink ground, was sold at Christie's New York, 3rd June 1988, lot 305; and a pair, decorated with a poetic inscription, was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th May 2007, lot 1383.