Lot 3123. A fine café-au-lait ground Famille-Rose wall vase, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795)21.5 cm., 8 3/8  inEstimate 600,000 — 800,000 HKDLot sold 875,000 HKD (112,875 USD) Sotheby's.

of flattened section with a baluster body rising from a splayed foot to a waisted neck and flared rim, the neck flanked by a pair of stylised blue and iron-red phoenix handles, the body decorated with a slightly recessed peach-shaped panel enamelled in famille-rose with a wondrous scene of the jimen yanshu ('Misty forest in Jimen'), highlighted with two scholars walking towards two pavilions set against a mountainous landscape, the setting detailed with ruyi-shaped cloud swirls and verdant vegetation, inscribed with an excerpt from a poem by the Qianlong Emperor and followed by a seal reading Qianlong, all within the café-au-lait ground gilt and silver-decorated in precise detail with lotus scrolls and butterflies, the interior enamelled turquoise, mounted to wood stand.

ProvenancePurchased in Paris, 1990s. 

NoteThe poem on this wall vase may be translated as follows:

Looking from the South, the Imperial capital is 
          surrounded by an auspicious air,
          The clouds of five colours protect the Phoenix Terrace.

Compare related free-standing vases decorated with this motif and poem on a café-au-lait ground, such as one sold in these rooms, 29th November 1978, lot 304; and another sold in our London rooms, 9th November 2005, lot 311. See also a pair of pink ground wall vases painted with a similar idyllic landscape, with Qianlong marks and of the period, sold in our New York rooms, 28th November 1994, lot 377.

The innovation of wall vases can be traced back to at least the Ming dynasty. They were used to hold flowers in indoor settings as well as inside sedan chairs. A wall vase hanging on the interior of a sedan chair is depicted in the painting An Ice Game by Jin Kun, Cheng Zhidao and Fu Longan, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Paintings by the Court Artists of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 61.

Sotheby's. Imperial Porcelain and Works of Art from a Hong Kong Private Collection, Hong Kong, 07 april 2015, 10:15 AM