A 'famille-rose' enamel on copper with gold 'European figures' snuff bottle
Imperial, Guangzhou, Qianlong black-enamelled four-character mark and of the period, 17361770 4.8cm high.
Treasury 6, no. 1132
A 'famille-rose' enamelled-copper 'European figures' snuff bottle
Famille rose enamels on copper, with gold; with a flat lip and very slightly recessed, slightly convex foot surrounded by a protruding flat footrim; each main side with a panel of a European subject, one a woman leaning against what appears to be a closed sack and holding a spray of flowers beside a young boy holding a fruit in a garden setting beneath a tree, a tower topped with a cross set amidst distant trees seen on the far banks of a river beyond, the other main side a man and a woman holding goblets, seated with a garden and nearby houses around them and a draped curtain above held back by tasselled cords, the panels surrounded by a chased metal design, the immediate frame foliate, the panels further enclosed within a formalized floral design in raised, chased metal on a blue enamel ground; the upper footrim and neck with raised metal strips separating areas of enamel, those at the foot of foliate design and those at the neck of formalized lingzhi design, both enclosing a painted formalized floral design in pink; the foot inscribed in black regular script, Qianlong nian zhi ('Made during the Qianlong era'), the interior covered with a patchy, pale turquoise-blue enamel, the interior of the neck with an additional metal lining below the lip, all exposed metal gilt Imperial, Guangzhou, 17361770 Height: 4.8 cm Mouth/lip: 0.78/1.20 cm Stopper: gilt bronze, chased with a formalized floral design
Condition: Some chips around the upper neck restored; some abrasions from use. General relative condition: very good
Provenance: Robert Hall Mei Ling Collection Sotheby's, New York, 15 March 1984, lot 76 Ashkenazie, San Francisco, (1987)
Published: JICSBS, September 1980, p. 47 JICSBS, Spring 1984, p.ii Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, no. 9 Kleiner 1995, no. 15 Treasury 6, no. 1132
Exhibited: Hong Kong Museum of Art, MarchJune 1994 National Museum of Singapore, November 1994February 1995 British Museum, London, JuneOctober 1995 Israel Museum, Jerusalem, JulyNovember 1997
This represents a very rare group from Guangzhou that can be dated to the first half of the Qianlong reign. The group is defined by the gilt-metal relief surrounding the panels and by the raised metal strips separating areas of decoration; these appear to be the result of carving away the surrounding metal in a champlevé technique, rather than applying raised wires as with cloisonné. The few known Guangzhou examples of this type are very clearly a response to the series of early-Qianlong bottles, several of which are in solid gold. The court would have developed the Beijing prototype and then ordered counterparts from Guangzhou. In this case, the Beijing prototypes far outnumber the Guangzhou versions. For other Guangzhou examples and examples of the original Beijing style that no doubt inspired the present group, see the commentary on this bottle in Treasury 6. Another feature of this group, from both Beijing and Guangzhou, is the use of a monochrome enamel for the champlevé areas evident in the dark-blue enamel ground here.
Unlike his father, who disliked figure subjects generally and Western subjects in particular, the Qianlong emperor embraced both wholeheartedly from the start. Once the new emperor's taste was known, the response from Guangzhou would have been rapid. What we have here is a typical Guangzhou echo of these early-Qianlong Beijing wares. The accommodation might have continued into the mid-reign, but the European figures seem to reflect European style during the early Qianlong era; Guangzhou reflections of current European fashion are, understandably, rather more accurate than those of missionaries at Beijing.
A feature of many of these European scenes, whether from Beijing or Guangzhou, is a framing curtain draped across the top and down one side of the design. In many cases, these can be seen as interior curtains, perhaps draping a window, or at least sensibly inside the building (see, for instance, the early-Qianlong enamel-on-glass bottle in the J & J Collection, The Moss, Graham, and Tsang 1993, no. 185). In the present instance, the positions of both the curtain and the figures relative to the garden are ambiguous, and while the viewer could certainly be looking through a window at the scene, we must remember that the draped curtain is a general compositional device taken from European designs of the seventeenth century; it appears on a number of the enamels and prints that would have provided inspiration to Chinese enamellers. That the Guangzhou artists took it as a general framing device rather than an object in a realistic scene is suggested by a painting on glass from about 1800 in which a large tree (beneath which sits a woman with a cherub and a nearby snake) is draped with a red curtain, despite being unambiguously in an outdoor landscape (Howard and Ayers 1978, no. 671).
The writing of the mark here is of the standard Guangzhou style: in regular script but lacking solid calligraphic authority. During the Qianlong reign, the black colour used for the Yongzheng reign mark was continued, at least on many of the earlier wares.
來源: 羅伯特．霍爾 Mei Ling 珍藏 紐約蘇富比，1984年3月15日，拍賣品號 76 Ashkenazie, San Francisco, (1987)
文獻﹕ 《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, September 1980, p. 47 《國際中國鼻煙壺協會的學術期刊》, Spring 1984, p.ii Kleiner, Yang, and Shangraw 1994, 編號 9 Kleiner 1995, 編號 15 Treasury 6, 編號 1132 展覽﹕ 香港藝術館，1994年3月～6月 National Museum of 新加坡，1994年11月～1995年2月 大英博物館， 1995年6月～10月 Israel Museum, 耶路撒冷，1997年7月～月11月