THE THREE EMPERORS
Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns from the Yidetang Collection
Live Auction: 12 October 2021 • 6:00 PM HKT • Hong Kong

The Three Emperors: Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns from the Yidetang Collection 12 October 2021 • 6:00 PM HKT • Hong Kong

F or the late master of Yidetang, the collecting of Chinese imperial porcelain and works of art was an all-consuming passion to which he devoted much time, thought and boundless energy. It is his passion and his eye that permeates each and every piece in this small selection of exquisite imperial wares from the hundred years that span from the late 17th to the late 18th century, the apex of material refinement in China’s long dynastic history. For the master of Yidetang, the fundamental tenets of collecting were rooted in history and craftsmanship and, most of all, a quest for imperial taste specifically that of the three great emperors of the Qing dynasty. Not that his wide-ranging tastes made him any less sensitive to the charm of earlier dynasties and, indeed, the collection includes fine examples of Chinese art from the dawn of civilisation in China all the way to the rise of the Republic of China. This collector loved Chinese art and he loved it generously, almost obsessively, embracing it in all its many guises.

Yidetang's three decade-long quest for imperial taste would lead him to grow fond of the entire spectrum of styles developed over centuries at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen and the offerings in this sale capture the richness of the imperial potter’s language with sublime examples of monochrome, blue-and-white and enamelled porcelain. The lover of monochrome porcelain will find here delicate lemon-yellow cups moulded as flowers, a washer naturalistically moulded in the shape of fruit dressed in a thick Guan glaze in which the Yongzheng Emperor once washed his brushes and an elegant vase of hu form covered in a rich crushed raspberry red glaze suffused around the generous belly with milky-blue cascades. The finest tradition of blue-and-white porcelain is represented in the masterful conjoined vase, among the great achievements of potters working to impress the Qianlong Emperor. The piece is constructed as a single vase sprouting five mouths, like a porcelain bouquet, a whimsical creation that would have delighted the emperor. There is a wide range of enamels on offer, whether they be doucai or wucai, after styles developed in the early decades of the Ming dynasty, or yangcai, the last important technical innovation in the history of Chinese porcelain that came into full bloom during the Yongzheng and early Qianlong periods. The finest doucai wares typically decorated in contrasting translucent enamels include an elegant bowl with immortals in a landscape, a rare pair of wide bowls with ‘dragon’ roundels and a most exquisite pair of cups with gem-like ruyi designs, all from the Yongzheng period. Meanwhile, the yangcai wares include a magnificent pair of yellow-ground candlesticks that would have lit up a Buddhist altar in one of the Qianlong Emperor’s palaces as well as an exceedingly rare tripod cup stand painted with rocky outcrops jutting from waves dating to the 8th year of Qianlong’s reign (1743).

It is Sotheby's greatest privilege to present this selection of exquisite porcelains from the Yidetang collection and it is an occasion to celebrate one of the greatest collectors of Chinese art in recent memory.

Nicolas Chow
Chairman, Asia


藝德堂主人,一生醉心中國御瓷及工藝品收藏,專精覃思,博學鑽研。專場精挑御瓷雖只數十件套,卻處處體現藏主的銳目熱忱,從十七世紀末至十八世紀末,橫跨百年,見證在中國的歷史盛世中,物器的工精藝絕。於藝德堂主人而言,鑑藏之道在於研其史、觀其藝,他尤以清三代盛世帝君的品味為據,集中搜蒐皇風御器。雖以清初為重,他仍曾為古代佳器之樸雅動容,從中國文明始源至民國時期,均有藏珍作例。堂主熱衷中國器物收藏,豪情滿溢之處,可謂難以自拔,不拒其萬相千貌,廣納百川,博藏藝珍。

經三十寒暑,藝德堂循昔日帝國皇風,傾心歷代各式景德鎮御窰瓷器,如專場所呈瓷器種類,已是包羅萬象,涵蓋單色釉、青花及釉上彩之精品,展示御窰匠人的絕藝巧工。鍾情顏色釉的鑑藏雅士,可採如盛放花兒的檸檬黃對盃、上供雍正帝御用的仿官釉桃式墨洗,或紅如棗、藍若空之窰變釉仿古銅式壺。青花瓷中,則有乾隆六聯瓶作模範,匠人嘗以巧藝取悅君心,一器作中軸,環飾五瓶,橫看綻若冬梅、遠觀豐如束花,鬼斧神工,想必讓龍顏大喜。藝德堂藏彩瓷,琳瑯滿目,有明初創燒之鬪彩、五彩瓷類,見證傳承嬗變,也有雍正、乾隆初年登峰造極的粉彩,炫耀中國陶瓷史上技藝躍進的終章。鬪彩精品,多敷透薄彩料,顏色對比鮮明,專場之高士採芝圖盌正為當中雅例,尚有罕見的團龍紋對盌,以及精緻可人的雲芝酒盃成對,均屬雍正一朝所製。至於洋彩,則有黃地燭臺成雙,或曾置乾隆皇家佛壇之上,為虔拜者添光增明。還有江山一統爵盤,製於乾隆八年(1743年),絕無僅有。

在大家可憶之年,論中國藝術品收藏,藝德堂主人可謂當中的佼佼者。蘇富比十分榮幸能獻呈其瑰麗瓷藏,並藉此向一代藏家致敬。

仇國仕
亞洲區主席

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