Lot 2330. An extremely rare Beijing enamelled 'Landscape' vase, meiping, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 8 5/8 in. (21.9 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 1,200,000 - HKD 1,800,000. Price realised HKD 1,460,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2012
The baluster body is brightly enamelled in vivid tones of blue, green, turquoise, yellow and purple and gilt lines to depict an exquisite scene of celestial paradise, with two cranes in flight. The vase is further detailed with a female immortal aiming an arrow into a vase placed within a pavilion. She is flanked by two female attendants, and all floating on clouds. Set within an elaborate landscape entailing rocky mountains above crested waves breaking against jagged rocks growing lingzhi fungus, box.
Provenance: Sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2007, lot 791.
Note: The present vase is extremely rare and represents one of the earliest examples of painted enamel on metalwork. The only known related example published to date appears to be a meiping of almost same size in the Beijing Palace Museum (fig. 1), attributed to the early Qing period and decorated with immortals in a landscape in a palette and style extremely similar to the current vase, illustrated in Metal-bodied Enamel Ware, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2002, pl. 171. These two vases share common features such as matt and slightly uneven surfaces, thick enamelling, and free painting style, and probably belong to the earlier experimental pieces made by the newly set up enamel workshop in the Hall of Mental Cultivation in the Forbidden City.
A Beijing enamelled 'Immortals in a landscape' vase, meiping, early Qing period, Beijing Palace Museum.
Yang Boda in 'A Preliminary Study of Enamel-Painted Wares with Reign Mark of Kangxi', Palace Museum Journal, Beijing, 1980, p. 43, notes that there are five pieces from the Beijing Palace Museum Collection which share the characteristics of the earliest Beijing enamel wares, with attributes which are similar to the current vase such as thick enamelling, free painting style and relatively heavy metal body. This vase is therefore a very rare example of this early group of works created by the palace artisans.
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 28 November 2012