Lot 3601
  • 3601


1,000,000 - 2,000,000 HKD
2,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • porcelain
skilfully modelled after an archaic 'double-beast' (shuangxi) vessel, the baluster body surmounted by a trumpet neck and galleried rim, the lower neck bordered with a raised ridge between a pair of beast-handles flanking the shoulder, applied overall save for the unglazed footring with a deep olive-brown teadust glaze, highlighted with variegated umber and dark brown splashes simulating the patina of a bronze surface, the base with a six-character impressed seal mark within a recessed cartouche

Catalogue Note

Imitations of other materials in porcelain, known as trompe l'oeil, were favoured by the Qianlong Emperor who had a penchant for the novel. Archaic and archaistic bronzes were particularly popular and copied in a great variety of ways with different glazes, flambé effects and with gilding and silvering to imitate inlay. The present piece is notable for its subtle russet and dark brown patches to resemble successfully a slightly worn patina of archaistic bronze vessels that have in turn been inspired by archaic ritual bronzes.

A slightly smaller Qianlong mark and period vase of this form, decorated with gilt and silver-painted geometric motifs, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Works of Chinese Ceramics, vol. 15, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 108; and a slightly larger vase, with a Jingweitang zhi ('Made for the Hall of Awesome Reverence') hall mark, is published in Qingdai ciqi shangjian [Appreciation of Qing dynasty porcelain], Shanghai, 1994, pl. 151.

The form of this vase is taken from an archaic bronze ritual lei vessel, while its animal handles derive from fou vessels of the Eastern Zhou period (770-256 BC); compare for example a bronze fou with handles cast in the form of an animal with its head sharply turned backwards, unearthed in Henan province, illustrated in Jenny So, Eastern Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 1995, pl. 34.2.