A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype
Lot 8212Y
A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand 20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype
Sold for US$ 182,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand  20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype
Property from Various Owners
A Canton enameled peach and bat-form coral branch stand
20th/21st Century replica after an 18th/19th Century prototype
The multi-pronged coral branch fitting into a complicated pyramidal base incorporating nine peaches, ten bats and three shou medallions that rests upon a separate gilt metal stand elaborately cast with additional bats amid clouds, the base of the stand bearing a six-character Qianlong mark in a single horizontal line of regular script enclosed within a double-lined rectangle; together with a modern hongmu storage box, its sliding front cover carved in shallow relief with two dragons amid clouds and smoke above Mount Meru surrounding a vertical reserve carved with a spurious explanation of the origin of the piece, the arching handle above in the form of two dragons also bearing a six-character Qianlong mark.
27 1/2in (70cm) high

Footnotes

  • The removable cover of the wood storage box in the lot reads:

    yuzhi xiansi hua falang fushou wen shanhu penjing
    qianlong renshu nian yuanmingyuan geng yun tang shou
    leshou tang jiaojian jinyun fuwen dizuo


    or

    'An imperially made wire-inlaid painted enamel bat and longevity character coral miniature scene:
    made in the renshu year of the Qianlong era (1742) for the Ploughing Cloud Hall in the Yuanming Yuan,
    the Enjoying Longevity Hall supervising and adding the gold cloud and bat motif stand.'

    For a gripping timeline of the sacking of the Yuanmingyuan, see A Paradise Lost: The Imperial Garden Yuanming Yuan (Wong, Young-Tsu: Hawai'i, 2001). The detailed inscription on the box is theoretically consistent with the chronology elaborated there: the Gengyun Tang (or 'Ploughing Cloud Hall' as Wong translates it) was completed in 1742, it was one of the few buildings in the Yuanming Yuan not completely obliterated by British and French forces in 1860, and it was the focus of a disastrous Tongzhi-era attempt at reconstruction. And a penjing (literally 'potted scene') of this auspicious subject matter recovered from that hall would have been a fitting sixtieth birthday gift to the Empress Dowager for her principal residence in the Leshou Tang (Enjoying Longevity Hall), completed for the occasion at empire-crippling expense.

    However, various stylistic details in the bat and peach group as well as the gilt-metal stand indicate that this lot is a recent copy. The original prototype of this penjing in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is published in Xu Qixian (ed.) Treasures of Imperial Court: the Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum (Gongting zhencang: Gugong Bowuyuan Cang Wenwu Zhenpin Da Xi) (Hong Kong, 2004), pg 51. The Palace Museum prototype is of larger size (42 1/2in [108cm] high, 25 1/2in [65cm] wide), holds a more elaborately figured coral branch, has a zitan hardwood stand, is cataloged without any specific attribution to any hall or garden and is simply dated 'mid-Qing' rather than Qianlong.
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