Lot 74. A rare cloisonné-enamel archaistic enamel vase, hu, Qianlong period (1736-1795); 38cm (15in) high. Estimate £20,000 - 30,000. Sold for 40,062 (€ 45,736). © Bonhams 2001-2019
The vase well cast with a globular body supported on a spreading foot rising to a waisted neck, set with four taotie ring-handles at the shoulder, brightly and lavishly enamelled around the exterior with plantain lappets enclosing stylised taotie masks within acanthus leaves, strapwork and blooming peonies, all reserved on a turquoise ground decorated with lotus blooms and between bands of further taotie, strapwork and lappets, later hardstone stand.
Provenance: a Belgian private collection.
Note: The archaistic form and stylised taotie masks on this superbly enamelled vase encapsulates the Qianlong emperor's reverence for antiquity. Vases of this shape have their roots in archaic ritual bronze hu vessels. Cloisonné enamel vases of this hu form with archaic taotie masks began earlier in the Ming dynasty; see a Ming prototype in the Brooklyn Museum (acc.no.09.471). For a related cloisonné enamel vase with animal mask decorations, mid Qing dynasty, see the Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Enamels, 3, Beijing, 2011, p.143, no.108.
Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, London, 16 May 2019