32
32

PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN LADY

A VERY RARE SMALL PINK-GROUND ENAMEL BOTTLE VASE
JIAQING MARK AND PERIOD
Estimate
150,000250,000
JUMP TO LOT
32

PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN LADY

A VERY RARE SMALL PINK-GROUND ENAMEL BOTTLE VASE
JIAQING MARK AND PERIOD
Estimate
150,000250,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

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London

A VERY RARE SMALL PINK-GROUND ENAMEL BOTTLE VASE
JIAQING MARK AND PERIOD
the rounded sides rising from a short splayed foot to a long slender neck, vibrantly and intricately painted to the exterior with elaborate multi-coloured lotus blooms borne on meandering foliage scrolls connected with smaller buds, the shoulders detailed with a border of mallow flowers across vertical plantain leaves, the neck decorated with similar stylised lotus scrolls below a ruyi-shaped border at the rim, with a further foliate border at the foot, reserved on a rich pink ground, all between gilt at the rim and foot, the interior enamelled turquoise, the white base inscribed with a four-character mark within a square in red
10.5 cm, 4 1/8  in.
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Catalogue Note

This exquisitely enamelled vase is an extremely rare example of Jiaqing marked painted enamel. It is likely to have been produced in the early years of his reign, during the years of the Qianlong Emperor’s abdication in 1796 and his death in 1799 when he still retained authority over the imperial workshops in the Forbidden City. The small proportions of the vase and complex yet harmonious design and intricate details of the flower petals, all rendered in vibrant colours against a pink ground, reflect the mastery of the craftsmen in producing unique pieces according to the Emperor’s taste.

 

The fine enamelling and exceptional quality of the vase attests to it being the product of the Enamel Workshop that was in charge of producing cloisonné, champlevé and painted enamel wares on metal, glass and porcelain for the emperor and his family. Located in the Forbidden City, the workshops employed artists of the highest skills who manufactured daily wares as well as one-off, often unconventional, pieces that were frequently commissioned by the emperor himself. The technique of enamelling on metal was originally introduced to the Chinese craftsmen in the Guangzhou area by Jesuit missionaries around 1684. Being a port city, these artisans were the first to be exposed to wares from Europe and had mastered the technical skills necessary.

 

In style this vase epitomises the fusion of the West with East. The subject of a foliate peony and lotus scroll between stiff leaves and lappets is typically Chinese; however in their rendering they are inspired by the Western rococo style. Leaves take on the form of acanthus leaves and the innovative colour palette mirrors the sumptuous taste of French decorative arts of the late eighteenth century.

 

The small proportions of this vase suggest it was made as a miniature for a curio box. Boxes made to house small carefully collected antiquities were greatly favoured by the Qianlong Emperor. According to the catalogue to the exhibition Lord Jiaqing and the Journey to Taiwan: A Special Exhibition on Cultural Artifacts of the Qing Emperor Renzong, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2016, p. 242, curios from Qianlong boxes appear to have been reorganised and continued to be appreciated in the Jiaqing reign.

Important Chinese Art

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London