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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part VIII  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 26 May 2014: Lot 1010 

Lot 1010
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Lot 1010
Treasury 6, no. 1201 (‘Three Fortunate Friends’)
HK$200,000

Famille rose enamels on colourless glaze on porcelain; with a slightly convex lip and flat irregular naturalistic foot; moulded and painted in the form of the trunk of an ancient prunus tree with blossoming branches within the embrace of a pine, bamboo, and lingzhi, with a bat in flight across the trunk of the prunus tree; the glazed foot inscribed in seal script, Da Qing Jiaqing nian zhi 大清嘉慶年製 (‘Made during the Jiaqing era of the Qing dynasty’); the lip with a pale brown glaze showing traces of gold enamel; the interior unglazed
Imperial kilns, Jingdezhen, 1796–1820
Height: 8.14 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.63/1.4 cm
Stopper: carnelian; gilt-bronze collar

Provenance:
Eric Young
Sotheby’s, London, 13 October 1987, lot 3

Published:
Treasury 6, no. 1201

Although of the same design as Sale 4, lot 91, this bottle is obviously from a different mould. Apart from minor compositional differences, it is nearly a centimetre shorter. In terms of quality and appeal, there is little to choose between them to suggest which might be the earlier mould. The darker ground on the other one gives more prominence to the relief design, but here the trunk of the gnarled old prunus is better delineated and generally paler, giving it more prominence. It may be that the emperor examined one or other of them and suggested changes, but there is little indication that the Jiaqing emperor took anything like the same interest in the production of art as his forebears.

By the end of his reign it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish palace works from those made by any other workshops that were still in operation. Although the range and quality of the Jiaqing moulded porcelains from Jingdezhen tend to suggest sufficient imperial interest to at least maintain quality and development, to what extent the emperor himself was involved is unknown. The present bottle could have resulted from decisions made by those at lower levels whose interest was merely providing the court with a sufficient quantity of porcelain bottles to fulfil the requirements of imperial use and gift distribution.

 

This is not the Sotheby’s sale catalogue. This is a product of Hugh Moss for the purposes of this website. For the catalogue details please refer to Sotheby’s website or request a copy of a printed sale catalogue from Sotheby’s.

 

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