A rare Imperial puce-enamelled blue and white 'dragon' moonflask, bianhu Qianlong seal mark and of the period

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Lot 30
A rare Imperial puce-enamelled blue and white 'dragon' moonflask, bianhu
Qianlong seal mark and of the period

Sold for HK$ 5,680,000 (US$ 729,001) inc. premium
A rare Imperial puce-enamelled blue and white 'dragon' moonflask, bianhu
Qianlong seal mark and of the period
With a gently-rounded body raised on a high oblong foot, vibrantly decorated on each side in puce enamel with a ferocious front-facing five-clawed dragon amidst trails of cloud scrolls in underglaze blue, above a small bat and below a shou character, the neck flanked by two elegant scrolling handles.
16.8cm (6 5/8in) high

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 青花胭脂紅彩蝠壽龍紋雙耳抱月瓶
    青花「大清乾隆年製」篆書款

    Provenance 來源:
    Colonel W. H. Starr, Royal Army Medical Corps, CB, CMG, CBE.

    威廉.H.斯塔爾上校,皇家陸軍軍醫隊,巴斯勳章,聖米迦勒及聖喬治勳章,大英帝國勳章

    William H. Starr, Colonel with Her Majesty's Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), was responsible for providing medical supplies and treatment to all British Armed Forces, military personnel and their families during times of war and peace. Starr was awarded the following medals: the 1854 India General Service Medal with a Waziristan 1894-1895 clasp; the 1900 China Medal, without clasp, probably for service during the Boxer Rebellion; Commander of the Order of the Bath (CB); Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George medal; Commander of the Order of the British Empire medal (CBE); 1914 Star; British 1914-1918 War Medal; and the British First World War Victory Medal.

    A testament to the exceptional skills employed at the imperial kilns and a superb example of imperial porcelain production at the height of the Qianlong period, this flask exhibits certain characteristics typical of the finest pieces made for the Qianlong emperor. The unusual small and intimate size (16.8cm high), makes this vase a personal piece to be handled and admired. Further, it is very rare to find this style of decoration featuring a dragon in puce enamel surrounded by underglaze blue cloud scrolls.

    Compare, however, a number of similar moonflasks, but of larger size: see from the Qing Court collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), Hong Kong, 2000, pl.232 (29cm high); see also an interior view showing a pair of similar moonflasks decorating the Cui Yun Guan, the 'Hall of Green Cloud' in the Forbidden City, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Furniture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (II), Hong Kong, 2002, pl.261; and compare also a related pair of puce-enamelled blue and white baluster 'dragon' vases, Qianlong marks and period, illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, pl.228 (48.9cm high).

    The form of the present vase is inspired by early 15th century moonflasks, which in turn were based on Islamic metal forms. The form was re-established as an imperial favourite in the 18th century. This was characteristic of the Qianlong emperor's admiration of past forms and decorative styles, and arguably as a symbolic way of stamping the Qing five-clawed full-front dragon over the Ming dynasty style shaped vase.

    Compare also the similar intricate enamelling in puce colour of the dragon on the present moonflask to the phoenixes on a large pink-enamelled blue and white moonflask, Qianlong seal mark and period, formerly in the Shorenstein collection, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 December 2010, lot 2968.

    A very similar moonflask (16.8cm high), but with an effaced mark, possibly the pair to the present lot, was sold in our London rooms, 17 May 2012, lot 347.

    瓶唇口,短頸,頸、肩部塑對稱夔鳳耳,扁圓腹,橢圓形圈足。腹部兩面以胭脂紅彩各繪一正面龍,龍身四周以青花飾如意雲紋,瓶頸部兩面各以胭脂彩飾一「壽」字,足牆繪雲蝠相稱,寓意「福壽雙全」。底部以青花書「大清乾隆年製」篆書款。

    威廉.H.斯塔爾為英國皇家陸軍軍醫隊上校,負責在戰爭期間為英國武裝部隊提供醫療援助,在和平與非戰爭期間,則為軍隊家屬提供日常的醫療服務。威廉上校曾多次榮獲國家授予勳章,包括1854的印度戰役勳章;其1900年的中國戰役勳章或為鎮壓義和團所得;巴斯勳章;大英帝國勳章;聖米迦勒及聖喬治勳章;1914年又榮獲不列顛戰役勳章以及第一次世界大戰勝利勳章。

    胭脂紅彩為釉上彩,於清雍正十三年(1735)在景德鎮御窯廠燒製成功,唐英在《陶成紀事碑》中將其稱之為「新製西洋紫色」,耿寶昌亦將其乾隆時期此類官窯瓷器稱為青花胭脂紫,見其《明清瓷器鑑定》,香港,1993年,頁277。北京故宮博物院藏一件清宮舊藏清乾隆胭脂彩雲龍紋雙鳳耳扁壺,形制略大,但裝飾手法類似,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:青花釉裏紅(下)》,香港,2000年,圖232;另見日本出光美術館藏一對青花胭脂紅彩瓶,著錄於《出光美術館藏品圖錄:中國瓷器》,東京,1987年,圖228.

    此類抱月瓶器形較小,為皇親國戚較為私密住所的宮廷陳列用瓷。故宮重華宮後殿的翠雲館為乾隆皇帝作為皇子時讀書並大婚的地方,其祥雲門內靠牆的紫檀長桌上即陳設有一對青花胭脂紅龍紋抱月瓶,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:明清家具(下)》,香港,2002年,圖261。倫敦邦瀚斯曾售出一件類似的青花胭脂紅彩蝠壽龍紋雙耳抱月瓶,2012年5月17日,編號347。
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A rare Imperial puce-enamelled blue and white 'dragon' moonflask, bianhu Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A rare Imperial puce-enamelled blue and white 'dragon' moonflask, bianhu Qianlong seal mark and of the period
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