A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun Qianlong

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Lot 58
A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun
Qianlong

Sold for HK$ 1,600,000 (US$ 206,017) inc. premium
A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun
Qianlong
Of globular form with high shoulders rising to a flaring neck and lipped rim, the body decorated with alternating large taotie masks above ruyi-heads amidst dense dark blue geometric and archaistic kui dragon scrolls, repeated in smaller size at the neck, with bands of linked ruyi-heads at the shoulder and below the mouth rim, the lower body above the base with a band of larger ruyi-heads enclosing alternating yellow and red lotus blooms borne on leafy tendrils, all on a rich turquoise ground.
54cm (21 1/4in) high

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 銅胎掐絲琺瑯仿古饕餮紋大尊

    The present vase is very rare for its unusually large proportions, which allowed the master craftsman to demonstrate his skills on a significant scale. It is therefore likely that this vase was a special commission for the imperial court.

    The decoration incorporating superbly rendered taotie masks and kui dragon archaistic scrolls, is inspired by archaic bronzes of the Shang dynasty. This is consistent with the Qianlong emperor's fascination and admiration for archaic and ancient objects. The emperor proposed to 'restore ancient ways', referring to the view of ancient culture as having intrinsic qualities of sincerity, simplicity and happy exuberance. For this purpose he instructed the court to collect drawings of antiquities, such as the Xiqing Gujian ('Catalogue of Xiqing Antiquities'), which were in turn provided to the craftsmen for inspiration; see Chang Li-tuan, The Refined Taste of the Emperor: Special Exhibition of Archaic and Pictorial Jades of the Ch'ing Court, Taipei, 1997, pp.49-50.

    The advocated archaism was adapted to Qing dynasty aesthetic sensibilities, in form and design, to suit the more opulent aesthetic favoured by the Qianlong emperor. The present lot is a remarkable example of how archaic designs were creatively rendered in different ways yet still reflects echoes of 'ancient' style. This is demonstrated in the reinterpretation of the taotie masks with pronounced eyes set at right angled corners, situated above ruyi-head motifs. The incorporation of non-archaic motifs on the same object, such as the lotus flowers within ruyi-head borders and meanders of leafy stems, also brought a more lavish visual appeal, which combined with the considerable proportions of the present vase, resulted in an outstanding accomplishment.

    Compare a cloisonné enamel zun with very similar alternating taotie masks, mid-Qing dynasty, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels 3, Beijing, 2011, pl.81. See also another example with comparable interlinked ruyi-head decoration illustrated by H.Brinker and A.Lutz, Chinese Cloisonné: The Pierre Uldry Collection, New York, 1989, no.228. See also a related archaistic cloisonné enamel vase, Qianlong, from the Brooklyn Museum, New York, illustrated in B.Quette, ed., Cloisonné: Chinese Enamels from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties, New York, 2011, p.92, fig.5.20.

    For other cloisonné enamel zun vases of very similar shape, compare a slightly larger vase decorated with bats and peaches, and another smaller zun with leafy lotus sprays, mid-Qing dynasty, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels 3, Beijing, 2011, pls.79 and 80.

    尊圓形,唇口,豐肩,口沿下及肩部飾如意雲頭紋一組。頸部及器身飾仿古饕餮夔龍紋,器身近足處以綠琺瑯為地色,飾纏枝蓮紋。器底為凹,以掐絲琺瑯飾冰裂紋。

    乾隆皇帝在藝術上主張仿古之風,極其重視宮中所藏商周清宮彝器,並對前朝特別是明代景泰年間所作銅套掐絲琺瑯器尤為欣賞,並特意下旨命造辦處照《西清古鑑》仿之。此尊仿漢代青銅饕餮紋尊,結合乾隆時期掐絲琺瑯工藝,融合如意雲頭及纏枝蓮花等新元素,凸顯乾隆一朝宮廷掐絲琺瑯慕古創新之風。見北京故宮博物院藏一件清乾隆掐絲琺瑯獸面紋出戟罍,《故宮博物院藏品大系:琺瑯器編3》,北京,2011年,圖81。與此尊類似的如意雲頭紋,見瑞士皮埃爾·尤爾德理舊藏,《Chinese Cloisonné: The Pierre Uldry Collection》,紐約,1989年,圖228。紐約布魯克林博物館藏一件乾隆仿古尊,可資比較,B.Quette編,《Cloisonné. Chinese Enamels from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties》,紐約,2011年,頁92,圖5.20。

    此尊體型碩大,其尺寸和北京故宮博物院藏另一件清中期銅胎掐絲琺瑯壽桃大尊基本一致,見《故宮博物院藏品大系:琺瑯器編3》,北京,2011年,圖79及80。
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A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun Qianlong
A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun Qianlong
A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun Qianlong
A rare and large Imperial archaistic gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel vase, zun Qianlong
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