A rare and superb rose-verte ‘dragon’ vase, tianqiuping, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period 清康熙 五彩加粉彩雲龍戲珠紋天球瓶
A rare and superb rose-verte ‘dragon’ vase, tianqiuping,
Qing dynasty, Kangxi period
h. 34 cm
As visible in the photos, there are flakes to the enamels, especially to the blue scales of the dragons, and general surface scratches to the exterior and rim.
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This tianqiuping vase displays the technical developments of the early Qing dynasty. Its striking decoration is testament to the advances in porcelain production during the early 18th century, when potters began to experiment with new enamel colours. It is one of the earliest examples of the inclusion of pink enamel amidst the famille-verte colour scheme and style.
The present vase is extremely rare for its enamel decoration. A comparable Yongzheng tianqiuping decorated with relief-moulded dragon motifs against a black ground was sold in these rooms, 23th May 1978, lot 163, and published in Sotheby's Hong Kong – Twenty Years, 1973-1993, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 381 and Sotheby's. Thirty Years in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2003, pl. 357. For a Kangxi period rouleau vase decorated in a similar palette, see one sold in these rooms, 4th April 2017, lot 1116.
The use of pink enamel with overglaze blue and broad washes of green enamel indicates that this piece was made in the late Kangxi period, when the wucai colour scheme was gradually replaced by famille-rose enamels, hence the name of this palette, rose-verte. Numerous scholars have discussed the origins and far reaching consequences of the introduction of pink enamel in the Qing dynasty, which together with the development of opaque white and opaque yellow changed dramatically the outlook of porcelain produced at Jingdezhen. Nigel Wood, who examined in depth the chemical composition of these porcelain colours, suggests that while the white and yellow enamels probably derived from enamels used on cloisonné ware, pink enamel was probably introduced in China from Europe through Jesuit missionaries. A gold-pink enamel was in use at the Meissen factory in Saxony in about 1718, and the pink enamel of Jingdezhen similarly appears to contain minute traces of colloidal gold (see Nigel Wood, Chinese Glazes, Hong Kong, 1999, pp. 241-243).
The appearance of overglaze blue enamel, which slightly predated that of pink in the 1720s, similarly had an important impact on porcelain decoration. Appearing first during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor, overglaze blue simplified the making of famille-verte wares, enabling porcelain painters to create highly sophisticated motifs. In the Ming dynasty underglaze cobalt blue had to be applied before firing to those areas where it would later be needed, while the other colours were added after the firing to make up the complete polychrome design; in the Qing, underglaze blue was omitted or exchanged for overglaze blue, which was applied together with the other colours, thus allowing much more complex and detailed designs. Overglaze blue enamel is mentioned in a letter by the Jesuit missionary Père François d’Entrecolles (1664-1741), who noted that this glaze was made from a powdered blue glass, which would be mixed with gum and fish-glue. The advantages of using overglaze blue are evident in the attractive rendering of the flowers and where it has been employed to enhance the naturalism of the birds’ feathers.
此瓶見粉紅彩、釉上藍彩及綠彩暈染，乃屬康熙晚期製作，時五彩漸為粉彩所替，其遂得名五彩加粉彩。關於清代引入粉紅彩之來源及深遠影響，以及不透明白、黃色彩之發展，歷來學者討論頗多。諸上種種，使得景德鎮所製瓷器面貌發生顯著改變。學者 Nigel Wood 對此類彩化學成分進行研究，認爲此類不透明白、黃彩或源於琺瑯器，而粉紅彩則可能從歐洲經天主教傳教士進入中國。德國薩克森之麥森瓷廠約於1718年已有採用以金發色之粉紅彩，彩料成份與景德鎮粉紅彩同樣含有微量熔金（參見Nigel Wood，《Chinese Glazes》，香港，1999年，頁341-343）。