• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12555

    The Imperial Sale / Important Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

    1 June 2016, Convention Hall

  • Lot 3402


    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

    Price Realised  


    QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)
    The vase is well cast of archaic gu form, superbly decorated around the rounded mid-section with lotus sprays and bats enclosed by linked fret scrolls. The trumpet neck and spreading foot are enamelled with hanging plantain leaves enclosing lotus blossoms and scrollwork, dividing further lotus sprays borne on tendrils. The flared mouth rim is embellished around the exterior with the Bajixiang, the Eight Buddhist Emblems, and four Shou medallions amidst lotus blooms on the interior.
    17 1/4 in. (44 cm.) high

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    It is very rare to find a cloisonné enamel gu vase decorated with the Bajixiang motif, and the current vase is very likely to have been part of a five-piece altar set placed in a Buddhist temple within the palace. A number of cloisonné vessels of other forms with this Buddhist decoration have been published, including the alms bowls and plates illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum - Enamels (2) - Cloisonne in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Beijing, 2011, pls. 260-261, 287-289. Compare also to a censer, similarly decorated with the Bajixiang borne on lotus blooms and archaic scrolls as on the present vase, dated to the early 18th century and illustrated by C. Brown in Chinese Cloisonné - The Clague Collection, Phoenix Art Museum, 1980, pl. 43.

    Since its introduction into China via Tibetan Buddhism during the Yuan dynasty, the Bajixiang motif represented a significant element in Chinese decorative arts. A small number of Ming cloisonné enamel works bearing this design are known, including a floral bowl and a large jar illustrated by H. Brinker and A. Lutz in Chinese Cloisonné: The Pierre Uldry Collection, Asia Society Galleries, New York, 1989, nos. 77 and 92. Another interesting piece is a six-lobed dish, dated to the early 17th century, in the Uldry Collection, featuring the Bajixiang surrounding a yin-yang symbol on the interior, op. cit., no. 132.

    Special Notice

    From time to time, Christie's may offer a lot which it owns in whole or in part. This is such a lot.


    A European private collection
    Acquired in 2007


    Reverence and Perfection: Magnificent Imperial Cloisonné Enamels from a Private European Collection, Hong Kong, 2013, no. 13