A symbol of autumn and of the 9th month of the year, the chrysanthemum flower provided much inspiration to potters and craftsmen from as early as the Song dynasty (960-1279). Bands of moulded chrysanthemum petals are known on vases of the preceding Kangxi reign (r. 1662-1722), although on these wares they are ubiquitously found above the foot. The Yongzheng Emperor must have found this motif particularly appealing, as evidenced by the numerous porcelain wares that feature this design. Hajni Elias in ‘In the path of Tao Qian: “Chrysanthemum” wares of the Yongzheng emperor’, Arts of Asia, May-June 2015, pp. 72-85, discusses these wares and suggests that they may reveal the Emperor’s admiration for Tao Qian (365-427), one of China’s most famous poets. Having retired from his official position in 405, Tao Qian’s humble and modest life in tune with nature embodied the Daoist ideal of retirement that resonated not only among scholar-officials but also with the Yongzheng Emperor, who was a devout Daoist.
The small loop handles on the interior of the mouth make this piece unusual and suggest it may have been used as a hanging basket. While no other closely related example appears to have been published, a line drawing of a vase of this type but from the Qianlong period, is illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding [Appraisal of Ming and Qing porcelain], Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 452, no. 3.
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