A fine and rare lime-ground Famille-Rose teapot and cover

A fine and rare lime-ground Famille-Rose teapot and cover

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Lot 3034. A fine and rare lime-ground famille-rose teapot and cover, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); width 17.3 cm., 6 3/4  in. Estimate 6,000,000 — 8,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 13,240,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2013. 

the globular body finely potted with six rounded lobes supported on a low foot below a small tapered rim of conforming section, set with an 'S'-spout opposite a loop handle formed of a sinuous chilong with head tucked into the rear lobe, finely decorated on each side with a pink-petalled lotus wreathed in scrolling foliage, interlinked with a pale blue bat above and a pink ruyi below, with attendant camellias and smaller lotus issuing from the curling stems, all reserved on a fine unctuous glaze of even pastel-green tone, the spout detailed with sprays of lotus and blue floret, the handle picked out with the eyes of the archaistic dragon, all between pink key-fret edged in gilt at the rim and a pink dotted band encircling the foot, the domed cover similarly decorated with floral scrolls on a lime-green ground between a gilt lobed rim and a lotus bud knop picked out with gilt petals, the interior and the base glazed in pale turquoise, the latter inscribed in iron-red with a six-character seal mark within a square panel reserved in white

Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5th November 1996, lot 882. 

Note: This teapot is unusual for its innovative lobed form and represents two of Qianlong’s interests: his predilection for the novel and his love of tea drinking. Moreover, of particular note is the restrained inclusion of archaism on the handle, which is almost camouflaged amongst the elegantly rendered foliate scroll. The Qianlong Emperor is known to have been a great collector and connoisseur of antiquities and advocated the use of them as a source of inspiration for modern designs for vessels. An eye on either side of the top of the handle and ‘C’ scrolls lining its interior are decorative motifs derived from archaic ritual bronzes, and is a subtle gesture of acknowledgement towards the emperor. 

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 08 oct. 2013