Lot 3201. An extremely rare celadon-glazed 'Chrysanthemum' bowl, Mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 18.4 cm, 7 1/4 in. Estimate 1,200,000 — 1,800,000 HKD (125,182 - 187,773 EUR). Lot Sold 1,250,000 HKD (129,343 EUR). © Sotheby's 2018
with deep rounded sides divided into twenty-eight slender fluted petals with rounded tips radiating from a slightly tapered foot of corresponding form simulating a chrysanthemum bloom, covered overall save for the base with a translucent bluish sea-green glaze, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark within a double circle.
Provenance: Christie's Hong Kong, 26th April 2004, lot 943.
Note: Masterfully potted and covered in a luminous glaze, this elegant bowl embodies the Yongzheng Emperor’s refined aesthetic which stemmed from his passion for antiquity. Inspired by Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) Longquan celadon wares, the delicate glaze accentuates the expertise required at all stages of porcelain production, from the potting and glazing to the firing and finishing. The difficulty in manufacturing such a deceptively simple vessel is evident by the small number of extant examples; two were sold in these rooms, one from the Meiyintang collection, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, vol. II, London, 1994-2010, pl. 860, sold, 8th April 2013, lot 5, and the other, 17th May 1988, lot 71; and a third bowl was included in the exhibition Qing Porcelain from a Private Collection, Eskenazi Ltd., London, 2012, cat. no. 4.
From the Collection of Paul and Helen Bernat and the Meiyintang collection. A fine celadon 'chrysanthemum' bowl, Mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); diameter 18 cm., 7 1/8 in. Sold for 3,400,000 HKD (335,698 EUR) at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8th April 2013, lot 5 © Sotheby's 2013
During the Yongzheng period, the chrysanthemum-form was employed for a number of wares including dishes, teapots and bowls. While potters working in the imperial kilns were instructed to create vessels based on past celebrated wares of China, the renaissance of this form could be also attributed to the Emperor’s broad and thorough studies. Hajni Elias, 'In the Path of Tao Qian: "Chrysanthemum" Wares of the Yongzheng Emperor', Arts of Asia, May-June 2015, pp. 72-85, suggests that these wares may have served as iconographic symbols related to Tao Qian (365-427), whose reclusive life associating with chrysanthemum embodied many Daoist ideals that were greatly sought after by the Emperor, a devoted follower of the religion. Furthermore, the number of petals that forms this bowl likely refers to the Twenty-Eight Mansions from ancient Chinese astrology, which mark the movement of the moon during a month. These mansions are divided into four categories of seven, namely the Blue Dragon of the East, the Black Tortoise of the North, the White Tiger of the West and the Red Bird of the South. The Yongzheng Emperor’s interest in astrology is evidenced in his admittance of imperial students with specialisations in astrology into the dynastic schools, thus lifting the ban the Kangxi Emperor had placed on such candidates (see Hans Ulrich Vogel and Gunter Dux (eds), Concepts of Nature. A Chinese-European Cross-Cultural Perspective, Leiden, 2010, p. 388).