The classic yet uncontrived composition on these bowls is testament to the Yongzheng Emperor's taste for classic styles of the past and his interest in their reinterpretation resulting in highly innovative contemporary designs of outstanding quality. While these bowls echo the past through their luxurious floral scrolls and use of the doucai palette, the archetypal style in the Chenghua period (1465-1487), the featheriness of the leafy scrolls displays the influence of Western Rococo style.
A closely related pair of bowls in the Umezawa Kinenkan, Tokyo, was included in the exhibition Shincho tōji [Qing ceramics], MOA Art Museum, Tokyo, 1984, cat. no. 39; a bowl in the collection of Brian S. McElney, was included in the exhibition Porcelain of the High Qing 1662-1795, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, 1983, cat. no. 78; and another is published in Sekai tōji zenshū/ Ceramic Art of the World, Tokyo, vol. 12, pl. 30. Bowls of this type were also sold at auction: a pair was sold in our London rooms, 29th February 1972, lot 247; another pair was sold at Christie's London, 11th December 1978, lot 52; and two bowls were sold in our London rooms, one, 4th November 1969, lot 107, and another, 11th June 1996, lot 100. Compare also a pair of bowls with a similar motif but the tendrils painted mostly in underglaze blue and the enamels somewhat lighter in tone, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th September 1992, lot 563.
A related floral scroll is also found on dishes with Yongzheng marks and of the period. See for example a dish from the collection of Morisada Hosokawa, illustrated in The Collection of Morisada Hosokawa. Qing Porcelain and Persian Earthenware, Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art, Kumamoto, vol. II, 1993, cat. no. 25; and a dish sold in our London rooms, 10th December 1991, lot 326.
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