A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase Qianlong seal mark and of the period

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Lot 18
A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase
Qianlong seal mark and of the period

Sold for HK$ 5,620,000 (US$ 722,577) inc. premium
A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase
Qianlong seal mark and of the period
The slightly compressed globular body on a splayed foot rising to a flaring trumpet neck, the main body vividly enamelled with two pairs of confronted winged dragons in iron-red amidst billowing clouds, the neck featuring smaller matching pairs of winged dragons, all beautifully set within lappets, trefoils, pomegranate motifs and ruyi-heads in underglaze-blue with iron-red decorated bats on the foot and repeated on the stepped shoulders, the base with a six-character zhuanshu seal mark in underglaze-blue.
13.1cm (5 1/8in) high

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 青花礬紅雲蝠夔鳳紋尊 青花「大清乾隆年製」篆書款

    Provenance:
    T.Y.Chao, Hong Kong
    Sotheby's Hong Kong, The T.Y.Chao Private and Family Trust Collections of Important Chinese Ceramics and Jade Carvings: Part II, 19 May 1987, lot 320
    Shimentang collection
    Eskenazi Ltd., London, Qing Porcelain from a Private Collection, London, 2012, no.18

    Exhibited:
    Hong Kong, 1973-74, The Art Museum, Institute of Chinese Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong

    Published:
    J.C.Y.Watt, Ch'ing Porcelain from the Wah Kwong Collection, Hong Kong, 1973, no.69

    來源:
    趙從衍先生舊藏,香港
    香港蘇富比,《趙從衍私人和家族珍藏重要中國瓷器和玉器:第二部分》,1987年5月19日,拍品320
    石門堂舊藏
    倫敦古董商埃斯肯納茨,《Qing Porcelain from a Private Collection》,倫敦,2012年,編號18

    展覽:
    香港中文大學,中國文化研究所文物館,1973-74年

    出版:
    屈志仁著,《華光艸堂珍藏清代瓷器》,香港,1973年,編號69

    The present vase is exceptionally rare - one of only three recorded - with the other two examples, a pair from the collection of Milo, 7th Baron Talbot of Malahide, Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin, Ireland, having been sold at Christie's Hong Kong on 1 June 2011, lot 3652.

    Whilst the underglaze-blue lingzhi-fungus shaped cloud scrolls and the iron-red enamelled bats, bestowing the wish for long life, are a mainstay of Qing dynasty auspicious decorative motifs, the archaistic iron-red enamelled mythical creatures are a rare feature. It has been proposed that they may be identified as kuifeng (kui phoenixes), based on the wings and bi-furcated tails. This is further supported by an underglaze-blue and iron-red enamel dish, Yongzheng mark and period, decorated with a pair of kui phoenix, from the Qing Court Collection, and an iron-red, blue and green-enamelled waterpot, Yongzheng, decorated with kui phoenixes, both displaying similar features such as the upturned culing snout and rings on the body, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Miscellaneous Enamelled Porcelains, Plain Tricoloured Porcelains, Shanghai, 2009, pls.22 and 151.

    However, the feature of upwards curling snout evident on these mythical creatures is more readily identified in archaic bronzes as kui dragons; see for example the stylised dragons on an early Western Zhou dynasty bronze you vessel and cover, illustrated in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, exhibition catalogue The Cultural Grandeur of the Western Zhou Dynasty, Taipei, 2012, pl.100. This feature is rather different than the archaic depiction of phoenixes, which is shown with a distinct sharp beak and tail feathers, as demonstrated on a middle Western Zhou dynasty zun wine vessel, illustrated in ibid., pl.101. Furthermore, it would seem that the winged kui dragons on the present vase, also referred to as ying long or feiyu ('flying fish dragon'), are a continuation of winged dragons, depicted on early Ming Imperial porcelain dated to the Xuande and Chenghua periods, amongst other 'sea creatures' or haishou; see for example a blue and white 'sea creatures' stem cup, Xuande mark and period, excavated in 1993 from the Imperial kiln site in Jingdezhen, and another in underglaze-blue and iron-red enamel, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in Imperial Porcelains from the Reign Xuande in the Ming Dynasty, Beijing, 2015, pls.29 and 94; and a blue and white bowl, Chenghua mark and period, illustrated in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Ch'eng-hua Porcelain Ware, Taipei, 2003, pl.17.

    The archaistic inspiration as depicted on this vase is a manifestation of the Qianlong emperor's wish to 'restore ancient ways', calling on craftsman to draw inspiration from archaic examples, enabling them to imbue their designs with simplicity and honesty, achieving refinement and elegance. The 'ancient ways' referred to the intrinsic values of sincerity, simplicity, and happy exuberance. As shown above, the decoration and palette are also in direct continuation from the preceding Yongzheng period, although displaying innovation in the unusual elongated form.

    The vase is related in form and similar in palette to an underglaze-blue and iron-red enamel vase, Qianlong seal mark and period, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of The Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (III), Shanghai, 2010, pl.225.

    尊呈渣斗式,廣口外撇,長頸,鼓腹,圈足外撇,足底青花篆書六字款。器外壁以釉下青花飾如意雲頭紋、卷雲紋以及蕉葉紋,留白處以釉上礬紅彩飾四組夔鳳紋,肩部及圈足則對應分別飾四隻蝙蝠紋。

    此尊為目前已知傳世品中僅存三件之一,其他兩件為愛爾蘭都柏林郡馬拉海德城堡塔爾博特家族第七世男爵舊藏,後由香港佳士得售出,2011年6月1日,拍品3652。

    渣斗式花器最晚在宋代已經開始使用,且器形為後代宮廷所沿用,至清早期則出現尺寸較小之渣斗式花插,但以青花礬紅技藝裝飾之例則極為少見。此尊以青花飾如意卷雲紋,再以礬紅在釉上描圖案並二次入窯,燒製工序繁複,耗費昂貴,成窯率低。以礬紅飾夔鳳紋所燒的御窯器數量極少,目前僅見北京故宮博物院藏兩例,一例為清雍正青花礬紅彩夔鳳紋碟,第二例為清雍正白地礬紅彩夔鳳紋舖首耳水丞,兩件器物之夔鳳表現手法均與此尊類似,見《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系:雜釉彩·素三彩》,上海,2009年,圖22及151。

    通常認為夔鳳紋是由商、周時期青銅器皿上的鳳鳥紋演變而來。然細觀西周早期青銅器上夔龍紋及鳳鳥紋,可見清代之夔鳳紋更靠近商代後期及西周早期之夔龍紋。如陝西省寶雞市出土一件西周早期伯各卣,其頸部和圈足所飾曲身龍紋與陝西省扶風縣出土西周中期豐尊有較大差別,前者更像此尊上所飾夔鳳紋之原型,見台北國立故宮博物院編,《赫赫宗周:西周文化特展》,台北,2003年,圖100及101。明代御用瓷器上出現的翼龍或應龍,亦可能是由夔龍紋而衍生,如1993年景德鎮御窯朱山出土一件明宣德青花海獸紋高足杯,以及另北京故宮博物院藏一件明宣德青花海水礬紅紋異獸紋高足盌,均可見具有象鼻、帶翼的龍紋,見《明代宣德御窯瓷器:景德鎮御窯遺址出土與故宮博物院藏傳世瓷器對比》,北京,2015年,圖29及94。

    乾隆皇帝乾嗜古如痴,崇尚慕古之風,在藝術上注重慕古而創新的風格。他不但重視宮中所藏商周清宮彝器,而且還特意下旨命造辦處照《西清古鑑》而仿造。此尊之紋飾在夔龍的基礎上加入新元素形成夔鳳紋,正體現了乾隆皇帝好古慕雅的藝術情節。

    乾隆一朝使用青花礬紅彩裝飾的尊,見北京故宮博物院藏一例,著錄於《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:青花釉裏紅(下)》,上海,2010年,圖225。
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A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase Qianlong seal mark and of the period
A rare Imperial underglaze-blue and iron-red enamelled vase Qianlong seal mark and of the period
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