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A CLOISONNE ENAMEL THREE-PIECE ALTAR GARNITURE
VARIOUS PROPERTIES
A CLOISONNE ENAMEL THREE-PIECE ALTAR GARNITURE

Details
A CLOISONNE ENAMEL THREE-PIECE ALTAR GARNITURE
QIANLONG PERIOD (1736-1795)

The fangding censer decorated on each side with a taotie mask surrounded by archaistic scrollwork shaped as chilong and surmounted by a smaller mask, below a pair of upright loop handles on the mouth rim, all raised on four blade legs emerging from gilt-bronze animal heads, the cover with four pierced panels and a finial in the form of a Buddhist lion; the pair of fanggu vases with taotie masks at the mid-sections and enamelled with plantain leaves flanking lotus scrolls on the trumpet necks and spreading foot, the interiors with further lotus scrolls and each fitted with a pricket stick pierced through a square liner with seven apertures to resemble a lotus pod
The censer 19 1/2 in. (49.5 cm.) overall height (3)

Lot Essay

An interesting feature of this garniture set is the way in which the gu-shaped vases were made to function both as flower-vases and as candlesticks. The pierced liner and pricketstick on each vase are removeable and can be fitted as individual pieces as befits the function required. Compare this with an early 18th-century round gu-vase from the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D. C., which has a similar lining pierced with apertures to resemble the top of a lotus pod, illustrated by Sir Harry Garner, Chinese and Japanese Cloisonne Enamels, London, 1977, pl. 66.

A five-piece garniture with identical enamel designs is illustrated by H. Brinker and A. Lutz, Chinese Cloisonne, The Pierre Uldry Collection, Zurich, 1989, pl. 267.
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