Imperial Famille Rose ‘Swallows’ Bowl
Qianlong Blue Enamel Four-character Mark Within Double-squares And Of The Period (1736-1795)
Size: diameter 11.3cm
Auction Company: Christie’s 2006 Hong Kong Autumn Auction
 “Imperial Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection - Jade Shears and Shimmering Feathers “
Auction Price: HKD151,230,000
Auction Date: 2006-11-28
The bowl finely potted with translucent rounded sides rising to a thin flaring rim, the exterior delicately enamelled in two shades of pink, yellow, green, brown and black with two swallows flying beside a flowering apricot tree intertwined with a willow tree with a gnarled trunk, the reverse inscribed in black with a ten-character poem in four lines, preceded by a ruby-red enamel seal, jiali, and followed by further two ruby-red enamel seals, xianchun and xuying. The arrangement of the decoration not only provides a perfect hand scroll format, but displays the individual elements to their best advantage, as if the viewer were looking up and seeing the branches, flowers, leaves and birds against the clearing sky.

The vase bears a poetic inscription written by Qianglong Emperor, which reads and may be translated as:

'Jade shears dart through the flowers.

As a Daoist immortal in shimmering feathered gown with the moon returns.’

Apricot is a symbol of the second month of the lunar calendar, the month of the imperial examinations, and has thus become the 'successful candidate's flower'. When combined with swallows yan, the name for which is pronounced the same as that for a banquet yan, they have come to denote the wish for a scholar to be successful in the imperial examinations and attend the banquet given by the Emperor. Swallows are a sign of spring, and symbolize success in the future, happiness and the arrival of children in China. So the decoration on the bowl can be viewed as individual auspicious elements or can be taken in combination to provide wishes for prosperity, good health, success in examinations, and the continued blessings and beauty of Spring.

Qing Dynasty Famille-Rose Floral Medallion Bottle Vase
Blue Enamel Mark and Period of Qianglong (1736-1796)
Size: height 18.4cm
Auction Company: Sotheby’s 2010 Hong Kong Autumn Auction - Masterpieces of Qing Imperial Porcelain from J.T. Tai & Co.
Estimate: HKD60,000,000 – 80,000,000
Auction Price: HKD140,660,000
Auction Date: 2010-10-07
The vase is exquisitely enamelled with Flowers of the Four Seasons. The four naturalistic garden scenes around the sides are dramatically staged in reserved circular panels to evoke moon gates in a south-Chinese garden, through which one can glimpse harmonious displays of flowering plants at different times of the year. The plants are arranged in classic combinations full of auspicious connotations, abounding with wishes for long life. Spring is represented by nandina and narcissus, summer by hollyhock, autumn by day lilies and poppies, and winter by roses that flower year-round and evergreen bamboo.

The surrounding design of bats among rainbow-coloured clouds against an azure-blue sky shows a particularly successful balance of colours. The fanciful borders of curly archaistic dragons are on the shoulder. The remarkably wide range of unusual enamel tones employed on the vase needs to be mentioned, which is altogether different from the standard 'famille rose' palette employed at Jingdezhen. It is apparent even in minor supporting motifs such as the petal panels above the foot, which here are composed of five unusual shades. The base is inscribed with a blue enamel kaishu mark Qianlong nianzhi within a double square

Qing Dynasty Yellow-ground Famille-rose Double-gourd Vase
Seal Mark And Period of Qianlong (1736-1796)
Size: height 40 cm
Auction Company: Sotheby’s 2010 Hong Kong Autumn Auction
Auction Price: HKD225,000,000
Auction Date: 2010-10-07
In form and decoration this pale yellow gourd-shaped vase represents one of the classic styles of the Jingdezhen imperial workshops during the Qianlong period, but its elegant design is particularly successful, making it one of the most stylish creations accomplished in this technique.

On the present vase the carefully shaded floral scrolls in subtle pastel tones are entwined around red-and-gold trellis, like climbers on a pergola. The multiple overlapping of the different colors required formidable organization of the design. The double lotus blooms in the centre of both sides echo a motif from an auspicious flower painting done in 1723 by the Italian court painter Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining) and presented to the Yongzheng Emperor upon his enthronement. The painting shows a bunch of lotus and other plants, with double blooms, a double pod and double ears of corn – auspicious omens heralding a prosperous reign. And the band of lotus petals shaded from rose-pink over white to pale green that encircles the base of the vase is a feature known from the best famille rose vessels of the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods

Qing Dynasty Qianlong-period “Having More Than Propitious” Porcelain Vase
Auction Company: Bainbridges’ 2010 Autumn Auction in UK
Auction Price: GBP43,000,000 (around RMB550,000,000)
Auction Date: 2010-11-11

Qianlong, who reigned between 1736 and 1795 and is regarded as the country’s last great emperor, holds a powerful fascination for its citizens today. He showed keen appreciation for art in all of forms and amassed large collections, commissioning and building several palace workshops and museums in the 'Forbidden City' to craft and display their masterpieces.

This vase's signature showed it was crafted during the early Qing Dynasty, indicating the 18th century reign of Qianlong, dating from 1736 to 1795. And it once belonged to Chinese royalty.

The large sea-green and yellow Chinese porcelain vase was beautifully hand painted with fine gold detail, a two fish motif decorated on the front, a double walled reticulated body with minute decorations, signed and in perfect condition. The double-walled construction means an inner vase can be seen through the perforations of the main body. Fish in Chinese culture symbolizes wealth, success and surplus. And it contains diverse glazes. There’s a blue-and-white interior, enamel, famille rose, golden outlining, hollowed-out carving, swirling, embossing, and light engraving. It is a piece of exquisite beauty and a supreme example of the skill of the ceramicist and decorator.

Qing Dynasty Guyuexuan Vase Famille-Rose Pheasant Vase
Blue Enamel Mark and Period of Qianlong (1736-1796)
Size: height 16.5cm
Auction Company: Sotheby’s 2005 Hong Kong Autumn Auction
Estimate: HKD93,000,000 - 120,000,000
Auction Price: HKD115,480,000
Auction Date: 2005-10-23
The diminutive pear-shaped body was delicately potted out of immaculate white clay, a milky-white glaze was applied and then it was superbly fired to a smooth silky finish in the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen, the millennium-old "capital of ceramics" in East China's Jiangxi Province.
It was enamelled in the workshops of the Forbidden City palace of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1796) with meticulous detail, showing a pair of golden pheasants perched on a knotty trunk between plants, however, was also painted together with an inscription written by Emperor Qianlong and seals on a vase. The inscription reads and may be translated as:
Xinzhi han qianlu, xiaoe san qinghong.
'New branches sprout young green,
new calyses spread light red.'
The simulated seals read: jiali (beautiful) and cuipu

There are only four similar vases of this type known. This one is perhaps the closest to perfect.

Blue And White Vase With Fruit Sprays, Meiping
Ming Dynasty, Yongle Period (1403 - 1424)
Size: height 36.5 cm
Auction Company: Sotheby’s 2011 Hong Kong Autumn Auction – The Meiyintang Collection, Part Two
Estimate: HKD80,000,000 – 120,000,000
Auction Price: HKD168,660,000
Auction Date: 2011-10-05
The Yongle reign is the time when the potters at the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen made enormous efforts to refine their materials of body, glaze and pigments, to remodel popular vessel shapes, such as the meiping, by fine-tuning proportions, and to improve decoration by extending their range of motifs, adjusting the layout of their designs, and developing an assured, yet soft painting style. It is traditionally used to display branches of plum blossoms and got its name "meiping".

The vase is evenly potted of generous proportions with the full rounded shoulders rising at a gently flaring angle from the base, and well painted in lively style with a wide band of ten fruit sprays arranged in an alternating double register. The upper register shows lychee, pomegranate, peach, longan, loquat, and the lower one with crab apple, melon, ginkgo, cherry, and grape. The shoulders is decorated with a band of twelve flower sprigs including two types of lotus, chrysanthemum, camellia, hibiscus and tea, each contained within a collar formed from interlocking upright and pendent ruyi lappets. All ornaments are introduced to blue-and-white porcelain. It supplies vivid testimony to the success of these undertakings, its rich repertoire of fruit and flower motifs making it a masterpiece of Yongle porcelain art.

Ru Guanyao Lobed Brush Washer
Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1172)
Size:diameter 13.5 cm
Auction Company: Sotheby’s 2012 Hong Kong Spring Auction
Auction Price: HKD207,860,000
Auction Date: 2012-04-04
The work is from Japanese private collection.
The vase is made over 900 years ago from the Ru kilns (kilns commissioned to make ceramics for the Song imperial court to the north) and it would have been used by a scholar to clean brushes. It is overwhelmingly beautiful, finely potted with shallow rounded sides rising from a wide flat base raised on a slightly splayed foot. The thin walls divided into six evenly spaced lobes by small pinched notches each extending to a vertical groove, fully enveloped in a luscious caesious coloured glaze, a tactile delight, suffused with a latent crackle now and then accented with darker veins of cracklure, the glaze thinning at the extremities and along the lobes to a purplish colour and, at times, pulling gently to reveal the dark body beneath, conjuring the occasional beauty spot, the underside heightened with three delicate 'sesame-seed' spur marks, two Japanese paulownia wood boxes.

Although the exact time of the production of Ru ware is still under debate, all scholars agree that it was made for an extremely short period only. Generally a space of some twenty years is proposed, from 1086 to 1106, today it is very difficult to obtain. And its colour was said 'to approach the blue of the sky after rain', and agate was reputed to be mixed in the glaze. Ru guanyao, the Ru kilns' 'official ware', plays a role quite extraordinary in the history of China and her art. Hardly any other artefacts have elicited feelings as fervent as the small and deceptively modest Ru ceramics. Of outstanding rarity, historically connected to patriotic sentiments of a grand era, conceptually to philosophical ideals of life in tune with nature, and aesthetically to a sophisticated taste for artlessness and excellence, they have obtained an almost mythical aura. 

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