Lot 203. A rare celadon-glazed iron-red and gilt-embellished double-gourd shaped ink palette, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795). Length 4 1/8 in., 10.5 cm. Estimate 20,000 — 30,000 USD. Lot sold 118,750 USD. © Sotheby's.
delicately made in the shape of a double-gourd attached to a leafy vine bearing a smaller gourd, molded with an iron-red bat at the center, the veins, tendrils and details on the bat highlighted in gilding, covered overall in a lustrous blue-green glaze, the base with seven tiny spur marks and four-character seal mark in underglaze blue, wood stand (2).
Provenance: J.T. Tai & Co., Inc., New York, 1969.
Collection of Eugene D. Buchanan, acquired by current owners circa 1977.
Receipt from J. T. Tai
Note: Double-gourd-shaped palettes are comparatively rare. More often seen are those of leaf shape such as the Qianlong mark and period celadon-glazed leaf-shaped ink palette sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28th November 2012, lot 2307. Compare also a Qianlong yellow-glazed and gilt leaf-form palette in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Wen fang qing gong. Zhongguo wenfang sibao quanji, vol. 4, Beijing, 2008, pl. 191, and another in the Shanghai Museum Collection, ibid, pl. 190.
The double-gourd represents longevity as dried, hollowed gourds were believed to be used by immortals to store their pills of immortality. The name of the double-gourd in Chinese, hulu, also serves as a pun for 'blessings and emoluments', while the red bat, hong fu, represents a wave of blessings. In addition, the large and small double gourds attached to the vine forms the rebus guadie mianmian, which carries the wish that one will have many descendants.