Peter Y.K. Lam, in ‘Lang Tingji and the Porcelain of the Late Kangxi Period’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 68, 2003-2004, p. 44, suggests that these jardinières were produced in the latter years of the Kangxi reign, possibly commissioned for the Emperor’s 70th birthday, which would have occurred in 1723. Paintings of Qing imperial birthdays illustrate the display of jardinières, antiquities, and artworks as part of the opulent celebrations, which suggests that this group of imperially marked jardinières would have been filled with appropriate plants and placed on view for guests to admire during the festivities. For paintings illustrating the Kangxi Emperor’s 60th birthday celebration and the Qianlong Emperor’s 70th birthday celebrations, see two included in the exhibition China: The Three Emperors, 1662-1795, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2005, cat. nos 25 and 26.
According to Lam, the style of the reign marks on the jardinière also point to a date late in the Kangxi Emperor’s reign. His research indicates that between 1713 and 1722, artisans began writing ‘Qing’ with a vertical interior stroke in the ‘moon’ radical (Peter Y. K. Lam, ‘Lang Tingji and the Porcelain of the Late Kangxi Period’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society, vol. 68, 2003-2004, p. 44). This is precisely the style of reign mark that occurs on the present jardinière and others of its type.
Imperial Kangxi jardinières of this group share a number of features including the impressive size, faceted bodies and six-character reign marks on the underside of the rim. A closely related Kangxi-marked jardinière of this size, also decorated with birds among bamboo, was sold at Christie’s New York, 19th September 1996, lot 287. A jardinière of this form, but decorated with Xiwangmu on one side and attendants on the other sides, was sold at Christie’s London, 15th May 2007, lot 282, and again in our New York rooms, 20th March 2018, lot 367, from the Jie Rui Tang collection; and another, but of elongated hexagonal form and bracket-lobed rim, from the Qing Court collection, is included in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, op. cit., no. 192. Compare also a bird and flower decorated jardinière of hexagonal form, but with shaped rim and raised on four ruyi-form legs, the Kangxi reign mark in black enamel, sold twice at Christie’s London, 19th April 1983, lot 357, and 12th November 2002, lot 72.
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