Pair of mounted vases, ca. 1750. Chinese porcelain with French mounts. Hard-paste porcelain with gilt-bronze mounts. Each 11 1/4 x 7 1/2 in. (28.6 x 19.1 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1977 (1977.102.1,.2).
These sky-blue vases of the Qianlong period were embellished in Paris with scrolled and foliated mounts that were used as bases, handles, and rims and adapted to the European Rococo aesthetic. The mounting of both Asian and European porcelain became a standard and lucrative practice for the Parisian marchands merciers. In this manner they could enhance a mediocre piece of porcelain or preserve a precious but damaged object. These "makers of nothing and sellers of everything" also invented new models for porcelain by giving them pierced mounts and turning them into incense burners or potpourri holders.