Iron-red and ug blue dragon porcelain.  Qianlong mark
Lot 69
An iron-red and underglaze-blue porcelain 'dragon' snuff bottle Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Qianlong iron-red seal mark and of the period, 1736–1795
Sold for HK$ 576,000 (US$ 74,273) inc. premium

Lot Details
Iron-red and ug blue dragon porcelain.  Qianlong mark Iron-red and ug blue dragon porcelain.  Qianlong mark Iron-red and ug blue dragon porcelain.  Qianlong mark Iron-red and ug blue dragon porcelain.  Qianlong mark Iron-red and ug blue dragon porcelain.  Qianlong mark
An iron-red and underglaze-blue porcelain 'dragon' snuff bottle
Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, Qianlong iron-red seal mark and of the period, 1736–1795
5.53cm high.

Footnotes

  • Treasury 6, no. 1183


    青花描紅龍鼻煙壺
    景德鎮,鐵紅乾隆年款,1736~1795


    Full-Frontal Authority
    Iron-red and black enamel on colourless glaze on cobalt on porcelain; with a flat lip and flat foot; painted with a continuous design of two imperial five-clawed dragons, one painted on each main side in iron-red enamel above underglaze-blue formalized waves and clouds, the eyes of the dragons painted in black; the foot inscribed in iron-red seal script Qianlong nian zhi (Made during the Qianlong period); the lip painted gold; the interior glazed
    Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 1736–1795
    Height: 5.53 cm
    Mouth/lip: 0.71/1.45 cm
    Stopper: pearl; vinyl collar
    Condition: some original gilding on the unglazed lip worn; the surface with the usual fine network of scratches and abrasions from use. General relative condition: unusually good


    Provenance:
    Robert Kleiner (1991)

    Published:
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 165
    Treasury 6, no. 1183

    Exhibited:
    Hong Kong Museum of Art, March–June 1994
    National Museum of Singapore, November 1994–February 1995

    Commentary
    The glazed interior may suggest that this bottle was made before the abandonment of that practice for a period during the second half of the Qianlong reign (see Treasury 6, p. 50 for a discussion on the significance of glazed and unglazed interiors during the Qing dynasty). If we therefore date it to the mid-reign, it is one of the earlier examples of an underglaze decorated porcelain snuff bottle. Blue and white snuff bottles seem to have originated in the Qianlong period and most surviving examples seem to date from no earlier than the second half of the reign. A group of underglazed bottles recently published from the imperial collection as being from the Kangxi reign are, without exception, from the second half of the Qing dynasty, and the same seems almost as certain for those dated to the Yongzheng period (Li Jiufang 2002, nos. 292 – 302; and Xia Gengqi 1995, nos. 152 – 155). With these red herrings removed from the picture, a few examples can be granted secure eighteenth century status, and one or two, including this example, may be from the mid-reign, but as yet none can yet be confidently dated to the early reign. It may be that the tendency of underglaze colouring agents to diffuse into the glaze caused them to be deemed inappropriate for a miniature art form requiring fine detail. The combination of underglaze decoration and more readily controlled enamels for the more significant details on this and many of the earlier bottles may have been calculated to circumvent the problem.

    One group of porcelain snuff bottles combining underglaze-decoration and enamels is dealt with under Treasury 6, nos. 1161–1163, but this bottle represents a second decorative group that combines selected enamels with underglaze blue decoration in a more equal partnership. These are well known from the Qianlong period in a variety of wares, including snuff bottles, and the usual combination is underglaze-blue with either iron- or ruby-red enamel, both of which could be easily controlled in the firing. As a rule, the underglaze elements of the design consisted of the setting, including clouds and waves for dragon designs, or floral scrolls for other designs. With the main subject sharp and easily read, it was less significant if there was a little diffusion of the background blue, even though the underglaze motifs were an integral part of the design. Here, the sharp and confident drawing of the imperial dragons draws the eye to them (quite correctly, since they are the symbol of the emperor) and the slight blurring of the waves and clouds enhances the power of the central motif.

    The imperial nature of the dragons justifies a confident imperial designation here, the reign mark confirms it, and the crispness and excellence of the calligraphy support the evidence of the glazed interior for suggesting a date from the mid-reign.

    Another Qianlong bottle decorated in underglaze-blue with imperial five-clawed dragons is in the Rietberg Museum (Hall 1993, no. 11). Other versions of this design were in the Ko Collection (Christie's, London, 18 June 1973, lot 26), and Drouot (Millon-Jutheau), Paris, 3 October 1988, lot 16 (where no mark is mentioned in the catalogue, but a one is just visible in the illustration and is presumably of the Qianlong reign). One more of the series was in the Szekeres Collection (Sotheby's, New York, 5 June 1987, lot 15).



    正面的威嚴

    瓷胎繪鈷藍,罩上一層無色釉,再施鐵紅琺瑯彩與黑色琺瑯彩;平唇、平底,以鐵紅彩畫為五爪龍,一面一條,以釉下鈷藍畫雲波為地;底有鐵紅"乾隆年製"篆款;唇塗金彩,器內施釉

    景德鎮官窯,1736~1895
    高:5.53 厘米
    口經/唇經:0.71/1.45 厘米
    蓋:珍珠,乙烯基座
    狀態敘述:無釉唇上的描金有所磨損,本壺因長久的觸摸有常見的細擦和損耗;一般相對的狀況:意外地好

    來源:
    Robert Kleiner (1991)
    文獻﹕
    Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號165
    Treasury 6, 編號1183
    展覽﹕
    香港藝術館,1994年3 月~6 月
    National Museum of Singapore, 1994年11月~1995年1月

    說明:
    煙壺內施釉的常規到了乾隆後半期就廢棄了(參閱Treasury 6, 頁50),所以我們可以推定本壺是乾隆中期作的。那麼,它就是鼻煙壺釉下圖繪最早的例子之一。青花鼻煙壺大概是乾隆時期見端倪,大多數的現在能見到的,最早是乾隆後半期作的。近年發表的一系列的號稱康熙青花的釉下圖案煙壺無一例外都是清朝後半期作的煙壺,稱號雍正時期的大概也是(李久芳2002,編號292~302;夏更起1995,編號152~155)。除去了轉移注意力的貨,還有少數例子可以有把握地確定為十七世紀的作品,而一兩件(包括本壺)可能是乾隆中期作的。釉下圖案煙壺當時不多見的原因,可能是小型的器物繪釉下圖案不合適,因為釉下彩色暈散的關係。本壺和其他早期的青花鼻煙壺之所以采用釉下青花和釉上紅彩的結合,很可能就是為了可克服這個問題。

    跟Treasury 6,編號1161~1163比,本壺代表一群釉下青花釉上彩色更有機地結合的設計,是乾隆多種瓷器常見的構想。看底款之精工和器內之施釉,我們推定本壺為乾隆中期的作品。其他乾隆青花和五爪龍的設計可參照瑞士蘇黎世Rietberg博物館所收的一件(Hall 1993, 編號11)。別的樣式見於克立德珍藏(佳士得,倫敦,1973年6月18日拍賣品號26)、Drouot (Millon-Jutheau), 巴黎,1988情10 月3 日,拍賣品號16(拍賣目錄不提到底款,但照片上可窺見的大概是乾隆的)、與Szekeres 珍藏(蘇富比,紐約,1987年6月5日,拍賣品號15)。
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