A SUPERB AND EXTREMELY RARE COPPER-RED DECORATED ‘DRAGON ROUNDEL’ DOUBLE-GOURD FORM VASE
A SUPERB AND EXTREMELY RARE COPPER-RED DECORATED ‘DRAGON ROUNDEL’ DOUBLE-GOURD FORM VASE
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PROPERTY FROM THE QUINCY CHUANG COLLECTION
A SUPERB AND EXTREMELY RARE COPPER-RED DECORATED ‘DRAGON ROUNDEL’ DOUBLE-GOURD FORM VASE

QIANLONG SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)

Details
A SUPERB AND EXTREMELY RARE COPPER-RED DECORATED ‘DRAGON ROUNDEL’ DOUBLE-GOURD FORM VASE
QIANLONG SIX-CHARACTER SEAL MARK IN UNDERGLAZE BLUE AND OF THE PERIOD (1736-1795)
The elegantly potted vase is decorated in copper-red of raspberry tone with four roundels on the upper bulb and another four on the lower bulb, each roundel with a pair of confronting chi dragons, separated by stylised ruyi heads. The mouth is decorated with a band of ruyi heads, the foot with a classic scroll below lappets. The mid-section has three horizontal bands comprising lappets, keyfrets and ruyi heads.
10 5⁄8 in. (27 cm.) high, box
Provenance
Sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 29 November 1976, lot 499
Offered at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2013, lot 3006

Brought to you by

Marco Almeida (安偉達)
Marco Almeida (安偉達) SVP, Senior International Specialist, Head of Department

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Lot Essay

Although copper oxide was utilised to produce red decoration on high-fired ceramics as early as the Tang dynasty, from that time onwards it provided a formidable challenge to the potter. The production of fine copper red decoration was so sensitive that great care had to be taken with the preparation and density of copper oxide, the composition of the glaze, the temperature and degree of reduction in the firing, and the placement of the vessels within the kiln. While copper-red decorated porcelains achieved remarkable quality during the Yongle and Xuande periods, their production halted soon afterwards due to the great difficulty in successful firing, and was not revived until the early Qing Kangxi period. Even then, firing to an attractive red colour was not always stable, hence copper-red decorated pieces remained to be produced in small quantities during the Qing dynasty. The current elegantly proportioned vase, painted with complex patterns executed with great precision, and fired to a lovely strawberry-toned colour, is an exceptionally successful example among this rare group.

Vases of this type appear to have been greatly treasured by the Qing emperors, as a pair of almost identical double-gourd vases are preserved in the Suianshi (Chamber of Peace Regardless) inside Yangxindian (The Hall of Mental Cultivation) in the Forbidden City, illustrated in situ in Classics of Forbidden City-Life in the Forbidden City of Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2007, pl. 175 (fig.1). Another closely related piece was sold at Christie’s London, 28 July 1975, lot 213, and one in the collection of Mr. Joseph Lau, illustrated in Sotheby’s Thirty Years in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2003, no. 294. A similar piece but of smaller size and resting on a straight foot was sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 15 May 1990, lot 193.
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