AN ARCHAISTIC CLOISONNE ENAMEL RECTANGULAR VESSEL, FU
AN ARCHAISTIC CLOISONNE ENAMEL RECTANGULAR VESSEL, FU
AN ARCHAISTIC CLOISONNE ENAMEL RECTANGULAR VESSEL, FU
AN ARCHAISTIC CLOISONNE ENAMEL RECTANGULAR VESSEL, FU
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AN ARCHAISTIC CLOISONNE ENAMEL RECTANGULAR VESSEL, FU

QIANLONG CAST FOUR-CHARACTER MARK WITHIN DOUBLE-SQUARES AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)

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AN ARCHAISTIC CLOISONNE ENAMEL RECTANGULAR VESSEL, FU
QIANLONG CAST FOUR-CHARACTER MARK WITHIN DOUBLE-SQUARES AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The vessel is of rectangular shape with wide flaring sides decorated with taotie masks below a band of leiwen, the shorter sides flanked by a pair of gilt handles issuing from animal masks, below a gilt flat everted rim adorned with classic scrolls. It is supported on a tall splayed foot of conforming shape, each side with an indentation in the middle and decorated with archaistic scrolls above a band of leiwen around the foot.
10½ in. (26.7 cm.) wide, stand

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Nick Wilson
Nick Wilson

Lot Essay

The current vessel is modelled after the archaic bronze fu, which was a ritual vessel used to contain food during the Zhou dynasty. The Qianlong Emperor was known to be a zealous collector of archaic bronze vessels, and commissioned the publication of the Xiqing gujian (Xiqing mirror of antiquities), an illustrated catalogue of his bronze collection. This publication, compiled in 1749, provided models for many of the works of art produced in various materials for the imperial court during this period, including the current cloisonné enamel vessel. There are a number of fu illustrated in the Xiqing gujian of similar shape and form to the current vessel, which were very likely to be the source of inspiration for the palace artisans who created it (see Xiqing gujian, vol. 29, nos. 1-18) (fig. 1).

Two slightly smaller examples with identical design to the current vessel are in the Palace Museum Collection and illustrated in Enamels 2: Cloisonne in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum, Beijing, 2011, pls. 239 and 240. Typical of Qianlong period works of art, contemporaneous elements were incorporated into the overall archaistic design, such as the gilt lotus scrolls on the interior and classic scrolls on the rim.
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