Lot 4021. A small cloisonné enamel archaistic platformed vessel and cover, gui, Qianlong cast four-character mark within double-squares and of the period (1736-1795); 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm.) highEstimate 800,000 - HKD 1,200,000. Price realised HKD 1,220,000© Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

The vessel is of compressed globular form, colourfully decorated with a pair of taotie masks between two friezes of kui dragons. The sides applied with a pair of loop handles, each emerging from a dragon head. The vessel is supported on a square pedestal similarly adorned with a taotie mask on each of the facing vertical sides. The base is cast with a four-character reign mark within a raised square. The vessel is covered by a domed cover decorated with taotie masks.

ProvenanceA French private collection, acquired in the early 20th century
Sold at Sotheby's Paris, 18 December 2008, lot 63.

NoteThe gui is a covered food container which first appeared in the Shang dynasty and became particularly popular during the Western Zhou period. By the latter period, further adaptation was made to the vessel's form in the addition of a square platform base. The present Qing dynasty cloisonne enamel vessel was most probably inspired by this type of Western Zhou bronzes. Compare with a larger example (40.7 cm. high) which is also modelled with a square platform base, dated to the Yongzheng period, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2006, lot 1288.

Christie's. The Imperial Sale,  Hong Kong, 30 May 2012