A rare imperial Ming-style blue and white 'peach' moonflask, bianhu Qianlong seal mark and of the period

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Lot 29
A rare imperial Ming-style blue and white 'peach' moonflask, bianhu
Qianlong seal mark and of the period

Sold for HK$ 2,200,000 (US$ 281,419) inc. premium
A rare imperial Ming-style blue and white 'peach' moonflask, bianhu
Qianlong seal mark and of the period
Of flattened form rising from a splayed rectangular foot, moulded on each side with a raised peach-shaped cartouche in relief, painted with two bats in flight encircling peaches issuing from a gnarled leafy branch, the body further surrounded by meandering lotus scrolls and two bands of lingzhi running along the sides, the narrow neck flanked by a pair ruyi-form handles, with further lotus scrolls and a trefoil band below the everted rim.
24cm (9 3/8in) high

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 青花花卉福壽雙全如意耳扁壺 青花「大清乾隆年製」篆書款

    Provenance 來源:
    A French private collection, by repute formed in Burgundy before 1890, and thence by descent
    Sold at Oger & Camper, Paris, 7 March 2011, lot 77

    傳1890年前法國勃艮第私人舊藏,後由家族繼承
    巴黎Oger & Camper拍賣行,2011年3月7日,編號77

    The form of the present moonflask is inspired by early 15th century prototypes of the Yongle period. These in turn derive their form from Islamic metal flasks. The subtle and variated blue and white palette imitates the early Ming dynasty imported cobalt blue, with high iron content, resulting in dark blue spots on the surface, also known as the 'heaped and piled' effect.

    This moonflask belongs to a group of imperial porcelain, designed by the Imperial Household Department - about thirty in number - which are referred to as dayun porcelain in the imperial archive of the Qing dynasty and were sent to the imperial court in the autumn and winter seasons. These designs continued to be made until the twenty-fifth year of the Daoguang period, corresponding to 1845-6, although the quantity was strictly controlled by the Imperial Household Department; see Wang Guangyao, Official Designs and Imperial Porcelain: The Palace Museum's Collection of Official Porcelain Designs and Porcelains from Imperial Kilns of the Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2007, pp.15-16.

    Similar moonflasks can be found in important museum collections: see T.Yoneyma, Qing Dynasty Porcelain from the Seikado Bunko Art Museum, Tokyo, 2006, p.58, no.49; another in the Nanjing Museum, illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2004, p.220; compare also another from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, illustrated in Beauty and Tranquility: The Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese Art, Indianapolis, 1983, no.116; and a fourth one, illustrated in Ch'ing Porcelain from the Wah Kwong Collection, Hong Kong, 1973, no.66. A very similar flask but bearing a Jiaqing seal mark from the Qing Court collection, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), Hong Kong, 2000, pl.148, demonstrating the popularity and continuity of this form and design.

    The design of peaches and bats, with its highly auspicious message, appears to have originated in the Kangxi reign, as exemplified in a Beijing enamel censer, Kangxi Yuzhi mark and period, offered at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 9 October 2007, lot 1539, and grew in popularity during the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods, when it was represented in diverse mediums. The bat (fu) and peach (shoutao) create the pun fushou shuangquan ('May you have both blessings and longevity'), which makes this piece particularly suited to be presented as a gift on the occasion of an imperial birthday.

    A very similar blue and white 'peach' moonflask, Qianlong seal mark and period, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 October 2015, lot 3725; another similar example sold at Sotheby's London, 9 November 2011, lot 201.

    壺撇口,短頸,扁圓腹,圓角長方形圈足,頸部兩側對稱飾如意耳。器身口沿下及腹部側面繪纏枝靈芝紋,器身主體繪纏枝蓮花地並作桃形開光,內繪桃枝和雙蝠,寓意「福壽雙全」。器底圈足內書青花「大清乾隆年製」六字篆書款。

    此式扁壺為清宮御製瓷中經典樣式,始見於乾隆,止燒於道光,其造型由明永樂、宣德官窯青花扁瓶發展而來,青花花卉紋中特別繪製細小斑點,刻意仿明代官窯青花之鐵鏽斑。清代初期景德鎮御窯廠每年按內務府造辦處設計的樣式燒造御用瓷器,秋、冬兩次運送至內務府,稱大運琢器,道光朝內務府造辦處檔中的原名則為「仿宣窯青花福壽雙帶馬褂瓶」。

    日本靜嘉堂文庫美術館藏一例,見米山寅太郎著,《靜嘉堂寶鑑》,東京,2006年,圖49,頁58;另見南京博物院藏一件清乾隆青花花卉福壽雙全如意耳扁壺,與此壺無異,見徐湖平,《宮廷珍藏中國清代官窯瓷器》,上海,2004年,頁220;美國印第安納波利斯美術館亦藏有一例,見《Beauty and Tranquility. The Eli Lilly Collection of Chinese Art》,印第安納波利斯,1983年,圖116;香港藝術館曾展出同樣一例,見《華光艸堂珍藏清代瓷器》,香港,1973年,圖66;北京故宮博物院藏有清嘉慶一例,形制及紋飾與乾隆一朝無異,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系:青花釉裏紅(下)》,香港,2000年,頁162,圖版148。

    香港蘇富比售出一件幾乎相同的乾隆青花扁瓶,2015年10月7日,編號3725,另有一例由倫敦蘇富比售出,2011年11月9日,編號201。
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A rare imperial Ming-style blue and white 'peach' moonflask, bianhu Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A rare imperial Ming-style blue and white 'peach' moonflask, bianhu Qianlong seal mark and of the period
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