3010
3010
A RARE FACETTED MOULDED GOURD 'EIGHT IMMORTALS' BOTTLE VASE
SHANGWAN MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate
800,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 1,000,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
3010
A RARE FACETTED MOULDED GOURD 'EIGHT IMMORTALS' BOTTLE VASE
SHANGWAN MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate
800,0001,000,000
LOT SOLD. 1,000,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection – Treasures

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Hong Kong

A RARE FACETTED MOULDED GOURD 'EIGHT IMMORTALS' BOTTLE VASE
SHANGWAN MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
of square section and double-gourd form, the twelve-facetted lower bulb with four main sides, each enclosing one of the Eight Immortals depicted with their respective attributes amongst cloud wisps, alternating with pairs of triangular panels decorated with shou medallions, below a band of lingzhi scrolls along the shoulder, the upper bulb with four sides, each similarly moulded with one of the four other Immortals, all below a further band of lingzhi scrolls and a short cylindrical neck, the base with a four-character shangwan reign mark ('appreciated by the Qianlong Emperor') encircling a flowerhead, the gourd of a rich reddish-brown colour, the mouth-rim lacquered black
21.9 cm, 8 5/8  in.
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Provenance

Douglas J.K. Wright, London, 1964.
Bonhams San Francisco, 9th December 2008, lot 5131.
J.J. Lally & Co., New York.

Catalogue Note

The humble origins of the gourd and its association with the symbolism of Daoist paradise made gourd objects highly appreciated by Chinese rulers as well as the literati elite. A major period of development in the moulding of gourds was initiated when the Kangxi Emperor commissioned gourd vessels to be made in the Palace Workshop which transformed this folk craft into an imperial art form. For a detailed discussion of the early history of moulded imperial gourds see Wang Shixiang, ‘Moulded gourds’, Gugong Bowuyuan yuankan, 1979, no. 1, pp. 86-91, translated by Craig Clunas in the Transactions of the Oriental Ceramics Society, no. 10, London, 1981, pp. 16-30.

Crisply moulded in the shape of a cube supported on a fourteen-face polyhedron, the present vase is adorned on the sides with eight immortals depicted riding on scrolling clouds, all within a square cartouche. The eight immortals can be identified as: Lü Dongbin with a sword, Cao Guojiu with his clappers, Han Xiangzi playing his flute, Zhong Liquan presenting a peach, Lan Caihe with his basket, Zhang Guolao with his fish drum, He Xiangu perching a sprig of lotus and Li Tieguai holding his gourd. The corners of the lower bulb are further decorated with longevity characters and the base moulded with a flowerhead, surrounded by a four-character reign mark.

See two similar gourd vases, also moulded with Qianlong shangwan marks: the first, with its interior similarly lacquered black, but the eight immortals arranged in a different order, illustrated in Wang Shixiang, Zhongguo hulu [Chinese gourds], Shanghai, 1998, pl. 22; and the other one in the collection of Tianjin Museum. The left to right arrangement of the shang and wan characters of the reign mark on the present vase, different from the right to left convention as seen on the above examples, appears highly unusual.

According to the inventory ‘Xinuange huluqi dang’an [Archive of the guard wares in Xinuange]’ from 1837 during the Daoguang period, four ‘eight immortals’ gourd vases with black lacquer on the interior were stored in Xinuange; see Gugong bowuyuan cang Qinggong chenshe dang’an [Furnishing archives of the Qing palace in the collection of the Palace Museum], vol. 4, Beijing, 2013, p. 39. On the 23rd day of the last month of the same year, however, a group of gourd wares, including the four vases mentioned above, were gifted to Mongolian nobility and lamas (fig. 1).

Water, Pine and Stone Retreat Collection – Treasures

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Hong Kong