15
15
AN IMPERIAL INSCRIBED CELADON-GROUND GILT-DECORATED WALL VASE
SEAL MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 2,750,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
15
AN IMPERIAL INSCRIBED CELADON-GROUND GILT-DECORATED WALL VASE
SEAL MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 2,750,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Selected Imperial Ceramics from the Tianminlou Collection

|
Hong Kong

AN IMPERIAL INSCRIBED CELADON-GROUND GILT-DECORATED WALL VASE
SEAL MARK AND PERIOD OF QIANLONG
of rectangular section, the facetted body with a flat back and supported on a splayed foot, rising to a waisted neck flanked by a pair of handles modelled in the form of chilong, the front centred by a rectangular cartouche inscribed with an imperial poem dated to yiyou year of the Qianlong reign (in accordance with 1765), followed by two red seals reading Qian and Long, all reserved against a pale celadon ground and framed by gilt-decorated archaistic kui dragons, the neck similarly decorated with a pair of kui dragons below stylised ruyi and foliate strapwork, the foot skirted with a lappet band, fitted wood stand
overall 23.7 cm, 9 3/8  in.
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Provenance

Acquired in Hong Kong, 1977.

Exhibited

Chinese Porcelain in the S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1987, cat. no. 116.

Catalogue Note

The innovation of wall vases can be traced back to at least the Ming dynasty. Flattened at the back as though cut in half and often made in pairs, these vases were used to hold flowers both in indoor settings and inside sedan chairs. During the Qianlong reign, they were particularly favoured by the Emperor and many wall vases were made using different materials, frequently inscribed with imperial poems and seals. In a poem featured on one porcelain wall vase, the Qianlong Emperor commented on the pleasure provided by these vases when filled with flowers, which allowed him to enjoy their fragrance while the 'red dust' (cares of the world) could not reach him (see the catalogue to the exhibition China. The Three Emperors 1662-1795, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2005, pl. 445). A wall vase hanging on the interior of a sedan chair is depicted in the painting An Ice Game by Jin Kun, Cheng Zhidao and Fu Longan, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Paintings by the Court Artists of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 61. A group of Qianlong wall vases of different forms can be seen in situ at the Sanxitang (The Studio of Three Rarities) in the Palace Museum, Beijing, as illustrated in the exhibition catalogue China. The Three Emperors 1662-1795op.cit., p. 44, fig. 15.

According to an official memorial on wall vases written by Tang Ying (1682-1756) dated to the 7th year (1742), imperial poems were to be inscribed in one of four styles – seal, clerical, cursive and regular scripts – to match the different forms of wall vases.

The poem inscribed on this wall vase, entitled On Porcelain Wall Vase, was written by the Qianlong Emperor in the 30th year of his reign (corresponding to 1765) and was included in a compilation of imperial poems the following year (fig. 1). Four yangcai wall vases in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, are adorned with the same poem, albeit in various scripts: Two handled vases bear inscriptions in regular script (accession nos zhong ci 01932 and 01931), another handled vase features clerical-script poem (zhong ci 01934) and a fourth one running-cursive script (zhong ci 01926). They all bear similar seals reading Qian and Long, and are inscribed with four-character horizontal reign marks. See also a blue-ground gilt-decorated double-gourd wall vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, decorated with the same poem in regular script, illustrated in Hall of Mental Cultivation of The Palace Museum – Imperial Residence of Eight Emperors, Hong Kong, 2017, cat. no. 53.

Evenly enveloped by a Longquan-inspired celadon glaze and pencilled in gilt with archaistic kui dragons, this wall vase exemplifies the Qianlong period's reverence for antiquity. However, despite the chilong handles which draw reference from ancient bronzes, the present flattened rectangular form appears to be a Qianlong period innovation. Wall vases of this form are preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei; a robin's-egg glazed archaistic example similarly decorated with kui dragons in gilt, is included in The Enchanting Splendor of Vases and Planters: A Special Exhibition of Flower Vessels from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Taipei, 2014, no. II-47 (zhong ci 01946). There are also a famille-rose wall vase with floral scrolls (zhong ci 01927) and another decorated with puce enamel (zhong ci 05391).

Selected Imperial Ceramics from the Tianminlou Collection

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Hong Kong