Imperial, palace workshops, 17361760, Qianlong blue-enamel mark and of the period 4.22cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1076
Famille rose enamels on copper, with gold; with a flat lip and slightly recessed concave foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; painted on each main side with a foliate panel of European subjects, one a woman and a young boy with an elaborate building and trees in the background, the other a woman with a basket of flowers and fruit and a young boy with buildings and the tree-clad banks of a stream behind her, the panels surrounded by a formalized floral design; the neck with a formalized floral band; the foot inscribed in blue regular script, Qianlong nian zhi (Made during the Qianlong period), the interior covered with a patchy, turquoise-blue enamel, the exposed metal all gilt Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 17361760 Height: 4.55 cm Mouth/lip: 0.70/1.13 cm Stopper: gilt bronze, chased with a formalized floral design; probably original Condition: perfect and in kiln condition, with even the original gilding intact; some minor original pitting of some of the enamels, particularly the olive-green around the neck and very minor separation lines visible only under magnification. General relative condition: extraordinarily good
Provenance: A. W. Bahr Robert H. Ellsworth Christie's, New York, 9 May 1981, lot 419 Hugh M. Moss, Ltd (1981) Paula J. Hallett (1986) Hugh Moss (HK), Ltd (1986)
Published: JICSBS, Winter 1986, front cover Kleiner 1987, no. 2 Galeries Lafayette 1990, p. 7, no. 1 Illustrated London News, Summer 1990, p. 49 Orient Express Magazine, Summer 1990, p. 49 Prestige, Summer 1990, p. 49 E & O Magazine 2, no. 4 (1994), p. 62 Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 6 Kleiner 1995, no. 3 Treasury 6, no. 1076
Exhibited: Sydney L. Moss Ltd., London, October 1987 Galeries Lafayette, Paris, April 1990 Creditanstalt, Vienna, MayJune 1993 Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum of Singapore, November 1994February 1995 British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
Commentary: The extraordinary artistry of painted enamels at the palace workshops during the early Qianlong period can be seen in so many aspects of surviving examples. There is a wide range of subjects, and where a subject is repeated it is always recomposed as a fresh, vital work of art. Given the quantity of bottles that must have been produced with the theme of a European mother and child, for instance, this speaks of a very high level of artistic commitment. It would have been so easy to simply make a number of bottles of the same composition, from the same preparatory drawing, but this was rarely done at the palace workshops prior to the second half of the Qianlong period, and even then sparingly and only in the case of a few designs. The variation in early palace enamel designs, even of similar themes, is spectacularly demonstrated here. By introducing dark clouds to the common motif of mother and child, the artist has created an entirely different mood, enlivening a standard theme. Elsewhere, skies are left in pale blue and white to indicate clouds in a blue sky, or simply shaded a very pale blue for a cloudless sky, both idyllic. The effect of the brooding, grey sky suggesting a gathering storm is dramatic, starkly emphasizing the white buildings and their European style and the slightly melancholic expressions of the women. Portraiture in China, other than of certain deities, rarely depicts smiling faces, and the standard for women in the Qing dynasty was for either inscrutability or a melancholic, wistful look. None of the European women depicted on enamels is smiling, and yet we get the impression that they are happy because of the idyllic setting. Gathering, brooding clouds change all that, and we have only to compare this scene to Treasury 6, no. 1077 to fully grasp their effect.
Another feature of these early-Qianlong palace masterpieces is the extraordinary variation in the borders and surrounding decoration that, despite being peripheral detail, commanded equal artistic commitment. Not until the mid-reign do we begin to see repeated borders and the repetition of certain compositions with little variation between them, hinting at the beginning of a reduction in artistic standards and a shift to the more decorative intent of some of the enamels from the last third of the reign. Technically, the art of enamelling may remain the same or, in the case of enamelled glass, improve during the mid-century, but artistically the first third of the reign represents the zenith of Qianlong enamelling. The borders here are spectacular. They employ a visual trick similar to that seen in the main panels, setting the design against a darker ground to create contrast and emphasis. The yellow dots filling the olive-green ground at the shoulders and around the base and the similar colour scheme for the floral band around the neck are extremely rare and appear only on this example and in a small way on Treasury 6, no. 1077. The palace artists, designers, and administrators responsible for enamels in the first two decades of the reign were obviously revelling in their newfound technical skills and responded to the intense interest of the emperor with astonishing artistry. In bottles such as this, it shows. Like most enamelled metal bottles from the period, this example appears to the naked eye to have fired to perfection, but as usual, magnification reveals a few tiny areas of pitting in the enamels.
來源： A. W. Bahr Robert H. Ellsworth 佳士得，紐約，1981年5 月9日，拍賣品號419 Hugh M. Moss, Ltd (1981) Paula J. Hallett (1986) Hugh Moss (HK), Ltd (1986 文獻： 《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》Journal of the International Chinese Snuff Bottle Society, 1986冬期，封面 Kleiner 1987，編號2 Galeries Lafayette 1990， 頁7，編號1 Illustrated London News, 1990年夏期，頁49 Orient Express Magazine, 1990年夏期，頁49 Prestige, 1990年夏期，頁49 E & O Magazine 2, 第4號 (1994年)，頁62 Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號6 Kleiner 1995， 編號3 Treasury 6，編號1076 展覽﹕ Sydney L. Moss Ltd, 倫敦, 1987年10 月 Galeries Lafayette, 巴黎，1990年4月 Creditanstalt, 維也納, 1993年5月～6月 香港藝術館，1994年3 月～6月 National Museum of Singapore, 1994年11月～1995年1月 大英博物館, 倫敦, 1995年6月～10 月 Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷, 1997年7月～11月