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photographer E-Yaji.
The Mary and George Bloch Collection: Part X  
Sotheby's, Hong Kong, 1 June 2015: Lot 48 

Lot 48

Lot 48
Treasury 6, no. 1100 (‘Abundance of Lotus’)

Famille rose enamels on translucent white glass; with a flat lip and protruding flat foot; both main sides carved in relief with a partial design, coloured and completed with enamels, of lotus growing alongside aquatic grass; the foot inscribed in iron-red regular script Guyue xuan 古月軒 (‘Ancient Moon Pavilion’)
Imperial, palace workshops, Beijing, 1775–1799
Height: 5.3 cm
Mouth/lip: 0.78/1.69 cm
Stopper: glass; vinyl collar

Illustration: watercolour by Peter Suart

Eric Young
Sotheby’s, London, 13 October 1987, lot 65

Antiques Trade Gazette, 7 November 1987, p. 18
JICSBS, Autumn 1988, p. 11, fig. 16
Kleiner 1995, no. 34
Treasury 6, no. 1100

British Museum, London, June–October 1995
Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July–November 1997

With the double-plane wares of the classic Guyue xuan group, enamelling at court came under better control than before. There are earlier examples on which the enamels have mostly fired perfectly, but they are the exception rather than the rule, whereas with the double-pane group the enamellers could generally count upon a high level of technical control in the firing. There are lapses, particularly when the more troublesome colours were applied thickly, and one such failure is visible here in the pitting of the green on the drooping, yellowing leaf in the foreground of one main side. The effect, although surely unintentional, is actually positive, as it reinforces the image of the rotting leaf.

Even in this fully mature example of the Guyue xuan group, we can see decorative links to the experimental group that began in 1767. The lotus design here is one obvious example, incorporating as it does one large floppy, ageing leaf in the foreground, its centre enamelled in yellow, just like those on Sale 5, lot 99, and Sale 7, lot 145. The use of simple dotted lines to delineate the leaves also remains the same, even if they are more precisely and confidently painted.

For other double-plane Guyue xuan bottles, see the commentary to this bottle in Treasury 6.


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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