Important Chinese Art
Important Chinese Art
PROPERTY FROM A WASHINGTON PRIVATE COLLECTION
September 23, 08:35 PM GMT
250,000 - 350,000 USD
A FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE FAMILLE-ROSE BOWL
YONGZHENG YUZHI MARK AND PERIOD
清雍正 粉彩福祿壽圖盌 《雍正御製》款
of shallow rounded form rising from a short foot to an everted rim, the interior finely enameled with a benevolent Shoulao mounted on a deer accompanied by a boy attendant presenting him with a large peach, an iron-red bat hovering above, the exterior with five further bats, the base inscribed with the four-character mark within a double square in underglaze blue
Diameter 7¾ in., 12 cm
Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 29th October 2001, lot 609.
This delicately enameled bowl is an extremely rare example of famille rose porcelain carrying a yuzhi mark in underglaze blue. It would have been specially produced at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen for court use as the phrase yuzhi [‘made to imperial order’] suggests. The underglaze blue mark, applied before firing at the Jingdezhen kilns, follows here the style of marking practiced at the Beijing enameling workshops, which added yuzhi marks in overglaze enamels.
Following the introduction of foreign enamels to the imperial court in Beijing, the mixing of the new opaque white enamel with other colors and thereby yielding soft pastels, reached an extraordinary height during the Yongzheng reign (1723-1735). These so-called ‘soft enamels’, which expanded the range of achievable colors, could be applied in tonal variations of light and dark washes, effectively complementing the refined painting techniques of the imperial artisans in creating the most exquisite porcelain of the period.
Brimming with auspicious connotations, the present bowl would have made a perfect birthday gift, as its pictorial decoration ingeniously unites the Three Star Gods Fu Lu Shou Sanxing through rebuses: Fuxing, the God of Blessings, represented by the bats (fu) painted on the in and outside of the bowl, Luxing, the God of Emolument, portrayed by the deer (lu) and Shoulao or Shouxing, the Old Man of the Southern (Celestial) Pole. According to historical records, worship of the latter as a deity of longevity began already with Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC), and its imperial veneration has lasted ever since. See Stephen Little, Taoism and the Arts of China, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2000, p. 269, cat. no. 90 for an example of a Ming court painting depicting Shoulao with a white deer, in the Palace Museum, Beijing.
Shoulao and figural scenes in general are, however, relatively rare on Yongzheng porcelain. The present figural composition devoid of all background is particularly unusual. Related figural scenes typically appear in a landscape setting, and can be found on various vessel shapes, unmarked or carrying a six-character Yongzheng reign mark. Compare, for example, a rectangular brushpot, illustrated in Michel Beurdeley and Guy Raindre, Qing Porcelain, New York, 1987, pl. 128, from the collection of Benjamin Chow, Hong Kong; and a teapot and a vase, both from the Qing Court Collection, published in Falangcai. Fencai / Porcelains with Cloisonné Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration. Gugong Bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quanji / The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, pls 50 and 54.
Other figural scenes, but painted in a famille-verte palette, can be seen on two Yongzheng period dishes with apocryphal Chenghua marks, both in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Mingdai Chenghua yuyao ciqi / Imperial Porcelains from the Reign of Chenghua in the Ming Dynasty II, Beijing, 2016, pls 294-5; and on a bowl with a six-character Yongzheng reign mark, also in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang wenwu zhenpin quanji / The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Wucai. Doucai / Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 155.
本品繪飾寓意吉祥，屬賀壽佳品，以祥蝠、靈鹿及壽老代表福祿壽三星。根據歷史文獻記載，壽星之傳統，始於秦始皇時代，後便一直延續至今。參考一明代白鹿壽老圖例，北京故宮博物院收藏，載於史蒂芬•利特爾，《Taoism and the Arts of China》，芝加哥藝術博物館，芝加哥，2000年，頁269，編號90。
壽老及人物紋飾，鮮見於雍正瓷器，如本品大量留白者，則更屬罕見。相關人物題材作例，多以山水為襯托，器型各異，無款或署雍正六字年款，如比較一方筆筒例，載於 Michel Beurdeley 及 Guy Raindre，《Qing Porcelain》，紐約，1987年，圖版128，出自香港 Benjamin Chow 收藏；另比一茶壺及瓶例，清宮舊藏，載《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集•琺瑯彩 粉彩》，香港，1999年，圖版50及54。
另可比較五彩例數品，繪人物紋飾，見兩雍正盤例，署成化仿款，藏北京故宮博物院，載於《明代成化御窰瓷器》，卷II，北京， 2016年，圖版294及295；另比一盌例，署雍正六字年款，亦藏北京故宮博物院，圖載《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集•五彩 鬪彩》，香港， 1999年，圖版155。