By virtue of the influence of Jesuit technology, pink enamel of this type was developed in China in the final years of the Kangxi period but very few Kangxi examples are known. It was not until the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods that the low-fired ruby-red enamel – which came in varying shades pink – became a more prominent feature in the repertoire of Chinese ceramics. In fact, Tang Ying (1682-1756), Superintendent of the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen, referred to such vessels as “Western red-glazed wares” in Taocheng jishi bei ji [Commemorative Stele on Ceramic Production].
Deceptively simple, the manufacture of such monochrome cups demanded the highest level of skill and meticulous precision, from not only the potting and firing but also the application of the enamel, which entailed blowing carefully through a silk gauze-covered bamboo tube on the biscuit to achieve the lightly speckled yet even effect seen on the current cup.
See a similar cup, illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 132; another related example, with the reign mark inscribed within a single circle, from the Avery Brundage Collection and now preserved in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, San Francisco, published on the Museum’s website, no. B60P2365; and a pair published in The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1991, pl. 126.
See also a smaller ruby-pink enamelled cup also offered in this sale, lot 3102.
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