Among bowls of this design the present piece is particularly rare for its six-character kaishu mark written within a double square. Qianlong reign marks are discussed by Peter Y.K. Lam in ‘Four Studies on Yongzheng and Qianlong Imperial Ware’, Ethereal Elegance. Porcelain Vases of the Imperial Qing. The Huaihaitang Collection, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, p. 55, where he notes that regular script was rarely used in the Qianlong period and possibly only in the early years of the reign, when the influence of the preceding Yongzheng reign was still being felt. This interpretation is particularly fitting as according to Palace documents, on the second year of the reign (1737) the Emperor is recorded to have regarded ‘palace bowls with yellow ground foreign flowers’ to be particularly beautiful and to have asked for more to be fired.
A closely related bowl in the Shanghai Museum, is illustrated in Lu Minghua, Qingdai Yongzheng – Xuantong guanyao ciqi [Qing dynasty official wares from the Yongzheng to the Xuantong reigns], Shanghai, 2014, pl. 3-146; another is illustrated in Michel Beurdeley and Guy Raindre, Qing Porcelain, London, 1987, pl. 183; and a third was sold in these rooms, 20th May 1981, lot 879.
Bowls painted with this motif are also known with a four-character seal mark between squares in blue enamel, such as a yangcai bowl illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding [Appraisal of Ming and Qing porcelain], Hong Kong, 1993, p. 281, fig. 485; a pair from the collections of A.W. Bahr and Paul and Helen Bernat, sold in these rooms, 15th November 1988, lot 32; and a bowl sold in our New York rooms, 9th December 1983, lot 381, and again in these rooms, 22nd May 1985, lot 188.
This design is also known with a six-character mark in underglaze blue; a yangcai bowl from the Qing court collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, exhibited in The All Complete Qianlong: The Aesthetic Tastes of the Qing Emperor Gaozong, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2013, cat. no. II-3.28; a bowl in the Nanjing Museum, was included in the exhibition Qing Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1995, cat. no. 101; and another in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Hugh Moss, By Imperial Command. An Introduction to Ch'ing Imperial Painted Enamels, Hong Kong, 1976, pl. 6.
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