A rare Falançai 'Mille-Fleurs' bowl. Mark and period of Yongzheng. Photo Sotheby's

finely potted with deep rounded sides rising to a gently flared rim, the exterior delicately painted in brilliant enamels of yellow, green, lavender, and magenta with a dense bouquet of mixed flowers including chrysanthemum, hydrangea, pink, peony, magnolia, lotus, and lingzhi, all blooming against a ground of thick foliage in several tones of green, the interior and base white and the inset base with an enamelled blue four-character mark within a double-square; 10.2 cm., 4 in. Estimation 3,600,000-4,800,000 HKD. Lot 3191 vendu: 4,340,000 HKD

PROVENANCE: Christie's Hong Kong, 28th October 2002, lot 606.

NOTE DE CATALOGUE: This bowl belongs to a small group of wares decorated with what is known as the 'mille-fleurs' design of chrysanthemums, lotuses, peonies, flowers buds and various other plants. Although the Western terminology of 'millefleurs' is widely used, the Chinese name for this type of dense design jiacai (mixed or mingled colours) appropriately describes the multitude of famille-rose shades used. Yongzheng wares using jiacai are extremely rare possibly because of the emperor's preference for more classical Chinese designs that tend to be less overpowering and complex, and also because of the very high level of technique involved in making such complex decorations in the famille-rose palette. The present bowl was possibly one of the very few wares that was considered a success in the making. The jiacai technique was perfected by the Qianlong reign as can be seen on one of the most beautiful examples of this type of decoration, the vase in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Michel Beurdeley and Guy Raindre, Qing Porcelain. Famille Vert and Famille Rose, London, 1987, pl. 165.

Only three other Yongzheng bowls of similar design appear to be recorded, one in the Qing Court collection included in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains with Cloisonne Enamel decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 15; a second bowl, formerly in the Edward T. Chow collection, illustrated in Beurdeley and Raindre, op. cit., pl. 146, and sold in these rooms, 19th May 1981, lot 589; and a third bowl also sold in these rooms, 25th November 1981, lot 278.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Hong Kong | 04 avr. 2012 www.sothebys.com