A fine pair of coral-red reverse-decorated 'lotus' bowls, Seal marks and period of Qianlong 清乾隆 珊瑚紅地留白纏枝蓮花紋盌一對 《大清乾隆年製》款
Property from an Old Hong Kong Family Collection | 香港家族舊藏
Property from an Old Hong Kong Family Collection
A fine pair of coral-red reverse-decorated 'lotus' bowls,
Seal marks and period of Qianlong
each d. 12.8 cm
The bowls are in very good overall condition.
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This pair of bowls is notable for the meticulously executed floral scroll, which creates a sharp and pleasing contrast against the iron-red ground. While iron red was already used to decorate Cizhou wares in the Jin dynasty (1115-1234), and was adopted at Jingdezhen during the Yuan dynasty, it was only in the 18th century, when all enamels were scrutinised as to their unique properties, that its decorative potential was fully realised. Iron red, which adheres in a thin, opaque layer, allows for razor-sharp lines, which could not be achieved with other enamels that are thicker and glassier. This property makes ‘negative’ reverse designs most successful, giving it a delicacy rarely seen with ‘positive’ painting on a white ground. Porcelain wares decorated with ‘negative’ reverse designs on an iron-red ground are the product of the creative genius of Tang Ying (1682-1756), Superintendent of the Imperial kilns during the Yongzheng and early Qianlong periods. A bondservant of the Plain White Banner, who had served at the court from the age of 16, Tang is credited with the introduction of novel techniques and designs. Luxuriant floral scrolls against an iron-red ground first appeared on Yongzheng mark and period boxes, but with additional butterflies, such as one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 70; one from the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, published in Margaret Medley, Illustrated Catalogue of Ming Polychrome Wares, London, 1978, pl. 163; and another from the collection of H.R.N. Norton, sold in our London rooms, 5th November 1963, lot 202, and again in these rooms, 8th April 2009, lot 1606.
During the Qianlong period, this reverse-decorated floral design was modified to be used on the outside of bowls, yet without butterflies. A closely related bowl, from the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, is illustrated in Stacey Pierson, Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art: A Guide to the Collection, London, 2002, p. 96, no. 109; and another is published in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding [Appraisal of Ming and Qing porcelain], Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 483. See also three bowls from the Ohlmer collection in the Roemer Museum, Hildesheim, illustrated in Ulrich Wiesner, Chinesisches Porzellan, Cologne, 1981, pls 130-32; a pair sold at Christie’s London, 18th June 2002, lot 245; and two bowls sold in these rooms, 8th October 2010, lot 2693, and 8th October 2013, lot 3004.
Bowls enamelled with this design continued to be popular in the succeeding reigns; compare a Daoguang example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, illustrated in Suzanne Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, pl. 282; and a pair from the T.Y. Chao collection, sold in these rooms in 1980, at Christie’s London in 1983, and most recently again in these rooms, 23rd October 2005, lot 528.
對盌精巧華美，礬紅為地，以留白表現纏枝花卉，紅白分明。早於金代，磁州窰便以鐵紅綴飾瓷器，元代景德鎮亦有效法。然而，直至十八世紀，匠人鑽研釉彩，試燒各色，礬紅始漸成大宗。礬紅質薄，所繪線條清晰細緻，非厚重晶瑩釉色所莫及。正因如此，以礬紅作紅彩留白紋飾，效果出眾，比較白地紅彩，更顯細緻柔和。 紅彩留白紋飾，乃清代唐英（1682-1756年）所創。唐英隸屬漢軍正白旗，十六歲任內務府員外郎，事於養心殿，在雍正乾隆兩朝任景德鎮御廠督陶官，創製珍瓷，翻陳出新，佳器琳瑯。以礬紅地白花為飾之器，始現於雍正年間，參考北京故宮雍正署款蓋盒，除繁花卷葉，蝴蝶相伴，圖見《故宮珍藏康雍乾瓷器圖錄》，香港，1989年，圖版70。另一例為大維德爵士故藏，現存倫敦大英博物館（編號：PDF B701），載於 Margaret Medley，《Illustrated Catalogue of Ming Polychrome Wares》，倫敦，1978年，圖版163。H.R.N. Norton 且有一例，先後兩度售於蘇富比，分別為倫敦1963年11月5日，編號202，以及香港2009年4月8日，編號1606。
至乾隆一朝，紅地白花之飾始繪盌上，惟蝴蝶從缺。倫敦大英博物館大維德爵士故藏一盌（編號：PDF B700），可資比對，圖見畢宗陶，《Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art: A Guide to the Collection》，倫敦，2002年，頁96，編號109。另見一例，收錄在耿寶昌，《明清瓷器鑑定》，香港，1993年，圖版483。德國希爾德斯海姆 Roemer Museum 藏 Ohlmer 舊蓄三盌，圖見韋斯納（Ulrich Wiesner），《Chinesisches Porzellan [中國瓷器]》，科隆，1981年，圖版130-132。另比較倫敦佳士得拍出之對盌，2002年6月18日，編號245。還可參考經香港蘇富比售出之二例，分別為2001年10月8日，編號2693及2013年10月8日，編號3004。
乾隆以後，此類瓷盌盛行依舊。例見紐約大都會藝術博物館藏道光年製盌，錄於 Suzanne Valenstein，《A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics》，紐約，1989年，圖版282。趙從衍舊藏也有一對，1980年在香港蘇富比拍出，1983年在倫敦佳士得易手，後於2005年10月23日再經香港蘇富比售出，編號528。