23 mars 2019

A fine celadon-glazed and gilt 'Rope-twist' vase, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795)



Lot 541. A fine celadon-glazed and gilt 'Rope-twist' vase, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795). Height 7 in., 17.8 cm. Estimate 60,000 - 80,000 USDLot Sold 75,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the globular body rounding to a waisted neck and everted rim, the sides modeled in low-relief with a continuous band of intertwining diamond trellis pattern set with an upright loop handle to either side in imitation of basketwork, the pattern highlighted in gilt, the exterior covered overall in a semi-translucent pale bluish-green glaze, the rim gilt, the interior and base a pale turquoise, the base inscribed with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.

Note: The delightful decoration for this vase alludes to traditional rope twist patterns made by the populace to secure pottery vessels for travel, and to daily carrying receptacles, such as fishing baskets. The decorative pattern also recalls a similar contrivance used on archaic ritual bronzes as early as the Shang dynasty, with large bands of diamond trellis pattern around the body of various food and wine vessels. The reference to humble materials, such as rope, within a luxurious imperial context, was popular among the aristocratic elite of the Qing dynasty and was meant to serve as a reminder of simpler living. The Qianlong Emperor was particularly intrigued by simulated materials, commissioning porcelains in imitation of a range of materials such as bronze, glass, wood and lacquer.

A similar vase to the present example but of smaller size and with additional gilt decoration on the rims, from the collection of T.T. Tsui, is illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Chinese Ceramics, IV, Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 178. Another similar vase of the same period but lacking gilt decoration is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures in the Palace Museum, Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 140.

Similar vases without gilt decoration bearing Yongzheng seal marks are also known. One sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 26th October 2003, lot 53 and another sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3rd June 2015, lot 3433.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 20 march 2019

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