Previously sold in Hong Kong, 21 May 1979, lot 264.
The present vase is an excellent example of the innovative combination of using a single colour glaze on moulded decoration, a technique used effectively on monochrome wares. The celadon glaze attractively highlights the densely arranged moulded floral motif: where the glaze pools in the recesses, the deeper colour contrasts with a lighter tone on the moulded extremities; from a single glaze it thereby creates two subtle shades of green.
The subject of decoration on the famille rose panels in the present lot may be compared to the highly prized imperial wares in the falangcai palette. It appeared that the falangcai birds-and- flowers theme was popular from the Yongzheng period onwards, such as the bowl with a similar design of a golden-tailed peacock standing on a rock in the National Palace Museum, Taibei, illustrated in Imperial Enamel Ware of the Qing Dynasty, 1979, no. 30. The highly detailed rendition of the birds and flowers are closely related to a painting entitled 'Glorious Spring', by the influential Court artist, Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1768), in the National Palace collection, Taibei, illustrated in Collected Works of Giuseppe Castiglione, 1982, p. 73, fig. 41. The crested male pheasant standing on pierced ornamental rockwork, and the composition of the flowering landscape are closely followed. The reverse panel depicting a pair of quails is more in keeping with Chinese painting style, particularly with rendition of the angular slate-like rockwork; this imagery is also Chinese in nature as quails provide the homophone for 'peace'.
No other vase of this pattern appears to have been published. This vase can be most closely be compared to a small group of moulded and carved celadon vases embellished with shaped panels in famille rose enamels to the sides framing flowers or landscape scenes within relief-moulded gilt borders. Such examples include a vase with floral panels representing the 'Four Seasons' illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Shogakukan Series, Vol. 15, pl. 222, and again by J. Ayers, Far Eastern Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, col. pl. 68, where he states that 'this sumptuous vase was undoubtedly made for the Palace'; and another very similar vase sold in these Rooms, 1 October 1991, lot 786. Compare also with two vases from the Liddell Collection of this rare group, one exhibited at Messrs. Bluett & Sons, London, no. 179 with four landscape panels; the other illustrated as no. 178 with two panels decorated with hunting scenes, the other two panels with inscriptions also illustrated as the colour frontispieces in The Liddell Collection of Old Chinese Porcelain.