Copper red required precise control of the firing temperature and the atmosphere inside the kiln. The resulting tone of the red was particularly important to the Qianlong Emperor, possibly due to the auspicious connotation of the colour. His demand for excellence is noted in a court record of 1738, where he rated the colour of a copper-red meiping with dragon design as not good enough (Feng Xianming, Annotated Collection of Historical Documents on Ancient Chinese Ceramics, Taipei, 2000, p. 232).
Vases of complicated shapes rendered in this palette as the present example are very rare. Compare a copper-red double-gourd vase, also decorated with dragons, sold in these rooms, 3rd April 2018, lot 3203.
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