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.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale