Double Ribbon Gourd Vase, China, 18th century, Qianlong mark and period







Lot 137. Famille rose Double Ribbon Gourd Vase, Qianlong mark and period (1736-1795). H: 18 cm. Estimate 60.000 € - 80.000 €. Résultat: 420 000 €. Courtesy Asium-Millon.

This double ribbon gourd vase (1), decorated with a rococo-inspired floral pattern against a brocade background in apple green glaze and fine landscape painting in a gold bordered cartouche, is an excellent example of the enamel wares produced during the Qianlong reign (1736–1795). 

The shape of the double ribbon gourd vase, often called “hulu shoudai pin” in Chinese, is derived from established forms that had already appeared during the Hongwu reign (1368–1398) and were often used for blue-and-white vessels during the next two reigns of the early Ming dynasty. This form, in turn, was inspired by the shape of portable liquor containers from Central and Western Asia. It is no surprise that the Manchu ruling house of the Qing dynasty was in favor of the Altaic cultural flavor of the shape as this form, though integrated into the inventory of Chinese blue-and-white, still gestures towards the multiethnic aesthetics of the empire. The ribbon was used to facilitate hanging when warrior owners were mounted on horseback. Yet the ribbon fashioned in the auspicious fungus (ruyi) shape on this piece shows the typically playful and flamboyant court style of the Qianlong reign. Refined and delicate as it is, this piece was obviously made for aesthetic appreciation and technical pride rather than utilitarian purposes.
Tied to two large exotic lotuses (Chinese: xifan lian) at the center of the neck and close to the foot, the curly floral patterns executed with a heavy chiaroscuro meander across the surface of the entire vessel. The dramatic shading on the floral scrolls and the calculated white highlights touch on pearls scattered among floral leaves to showcase the well-known European influence on Chinese painting and decorative surfaces during the Qianlong reign. The Imperial Archive and memorial records document how European missionaries and their court disciples were involved in painting porcelain in the court workshops (Chinese: Zaoban chu). Even the coral red applied to the interior of the golden cartouche attempts to enhance the three-dimensionality of the border. 
Another feature of the extravagant color palette deployed in the mid eighteenth century is the refreshing apple green background with a scrolling leaf pattern incised by needles, which is often called flowers over brocade (Chinese: jinshang tianhua). In imitating falang enamel colors imported from the West, the Imperial Workshop successfully experimented with nine indigenous falang pigments, including apple-like bright green in 1728. Porcelain supervisor Tang Ying (1682–1756) introduced these falang colors from the Forbidden City to Jingdezhen, where the Imperial Manufacture of Porcelain was located (2). The design of an incised glaze background was also frequently realized in Jingdezhen under Tang Ying and his successor’s supervision from 1742 on (3). “Foreign enamel (Chinese: yangcai)” would become the term used in archival records to refer to such painted decoration en relief, which resulted from the generous application of costly pigments. The intricate composition and visual impact also resemble decorative patterns on textiles and other media, and such a bold circulation of decorative patterns across media is another trademark of the Qianlong reign.
The two paintings circled within the cartouches on both sides were executed in the typical mid eighteenth century court style, featuring somewhat squarish rocks and a rather detailed depiction of architecture and even furniture inside. The stylized mountains are highly reminiscent of the style of Tang Dai (1673–after 1751) and a few following generations of court painters (4), who had established the pictorial standard for skillful porcelain painters in the Imperial Manufacture in Jingdezhen. The narratives captured on two sides seem to be sequentially connected, telling a story about a friendly gathering in a multi-building estate, possibly a Daoist temple. After a group of gentlemen have entered the estate, which is hidden in an idyllic forest and clouds on one side of the vase, a group of figures including three masters and a servant stand on a balustraded cliff and feed a passing crane tree branches on the other side of the vase. Across the soaring waves, another mansion extends from the hilly shore.
Last but not least, inside the foot with its gilded rim, the reign mark, “Daqing qianlong nian zhi (Made in Qianlong Reign of the Great Qing) again indicates that the piece was made in the mid to late eighteenth century. The iron-red reign mark in seal script, divided into two lines, is inscribed in a white glazed space reserved from the typical lake green glaze otherwise covering the base. Based on the precise structuring of the strokes in the six characters, both Peter Lam and Geng Baochang have dated this character composition to the aforementioned period (5).

(1) Geng Baochang, Mingqing ciqi jianding (Authentication of Ming and Qing Porcelains) (Beijing: Zijincheng chubanshe, 1993), 260.
(2) Liao Baoxiu, Huali caici: Qianlong yangcai (Stunning Decorative Porcelains from the Ch’ien-lung Reign) (Taipei: National Palace Museum, 2011), 246.
(3) Yu Pei-Chin, “The Relationship Between T’ang Ying and Imperial Kilns of the Yung-cheng and Ch’ien-lung Time Period,” The National Palace Museum Research Quarterly 24:1 (2006): 24–27.
(4) John Finlay, “40 Views of the Yuanming yuan: Image and Ideology in a Qianlong Imperial Album of Poetry and Paintings,” PhD Dissertation, Yale University, 2011.
(5) Geng Baochang, 1993, 344; Peter Lam, “Toward A Dating Framework for Qianlong Imperial Porcelain,” Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society 2009, 24.

Chine, XVIIIe siècle, Importante gourde en porcelaine à décor de la famille rose d'influence Européenne comprenant des rinceaux d'inspiration de la mouvance Rococco (Caractéristique apparu dans les décors Chinois suite à la présence de missionnaires européens à la cour, le plus connu étant l’italien Giuseppe Castiglione) contenant deux cartouches refermant un décor famille-rose de paysages et de la scène de "Haiwu Tianshou", l'ensemble sur fond vert-pomme rehaussé de scraffiato (de l'italien graffiare : griffer) 
On notera l'ajout de peinture de couleur or au col et sur le talon qui confèrent un aspect noble et impérial à l’objet.
La forme de gourde fut utilisée depuis de 15e siècle et dérive de forme de gourdes de pèlerin portables venant de l’Asie centrale et Asie de l’ouest (favorisée par les mandchoues de la dynastie Qing, originaires de l’ouest et ayant pris le contrôle de la Chine au 17e siècle)
Les anses à forme de ruyi sur le présent objet étaient à l'origine utilisées pour attacher les gourdes à la ceinture des cavaliers durant les voyages
Cet objet fragile était fabriqué dans un but d’appréciation esthétique et de démonstration de prouesse technique plus que pour une utilisation quotidienne.
Finalement notons la présence d'une marque Qianlong à six caractères sous la base : 'Da Qing Qianlong Nian Zhi', ultime signe d'une provenance impériale de l’objet du fait que ces marques furent apposée uniquement sur des pièces destinée au Palais.

Restaurations, sauts d'émail et un choc sur le cou, une anse recollée.

Provenance: Colonel Yves Onno, gouverneur militaire de la base de Tien Tsin dans les années 1930.

Arts de la Chine - Arts du Japon chez Asium-Millon, 75009 Paris (France), le 13 Juin 2019 à 10h et 15h. Monsieur Jean Gauchet, Expert.