Pater Gratia Oriental Art

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Sold Famille Verte wares 1680-1725

 

Flowers, Animals and Long Elizas

 

Page 1

Several types of polychrome enamelled porcelain were developed from c.1680, during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662–1722). The so-called famille verte type, its decoration dominated by green enamels, was particularly popular in Europe from c. 1690–1720. The use of blue overglaze enamel was a new phenomenon, but gold was more frequently applied too. Details and outlines are often in black. It is remarkable that verte is rarely combined with underglaze blue. Apparently, the shaping and firing took place in factories in Jingdezhen that were different from the workshops where the enamelling took place.

Besides dishes, plates and bowls, luxury items such as monteiths (glass coolers) were also made. These Western shapes were modelled after pewter, glass or earthenware models. However, Western shapes occur infrequently, while Western decorations are almost non-existent. The usual Chinese decorations show a variety of flowers, animals, landscapes and figurative scenes. Much famille verte was also made for the domestic Chinese market, not just for export. Therefore, many figural decorations are based on Chinese literary sources, copying the woodcut illustrations in novels and plays. For the Western owner these decorations were nothing more than highly exotic, but for the Chinese there were all kinds of intellectual connotations. Only recently have Western scholars started investigating their meanings. One popular theme used on porcelain was the 'Western Chamber', a love story still popular today. Remarkably, European depictions in famille verte are rare. 

2011684
2011684

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Object 2011684

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1700

 

Height 55 mm (2.17 inch), diameter of rim 354 mm (13.94 inch), diameter of footring 190/160 mm (7.48/6.30 inch), weight 1.380 grams (48.68 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on a channel footring, with spreading sides and a flaring rim. Decorated in famille verte enamels with two birds in flight above a fenced garden, large taihu (garden) rock on which flowerpots filled with miniature gardens with rocks, flowering prunus, pine and bamboo trees. In the centre a spotted deer with crane amongst various lingzhi growing from rockwork. On the reverse five flowering lotus sprays. Marked on the base with the symbol mark: 'Artemisia leaf', symbol for healing and wealth, in a double circle, underglaze blue. Fitted in a steel frame.

 

The spotted deer design symbolises best wishes for a career as an official and good fortune and prosperity. This is because the Chinese word for deer, lu, has the same sound as the word for the high salary of a Chinese official. Another reason for the association with Chinese scholar-bureaucrats or literati is that one of the concluding rituals of the provincial examinations that had to be passed if one was to become an official in the Chinese civil service was a party known as the Banquet of Auspicious Omens, ore more literally the Deer-cry Banquet.

 

More frequently however, in Daoist mythology the spotted deer are considered auspicious animals connected to immortality. This is because they were believed to attain great age. Furthermore, they were the only animals able to locate and eat the special fungus of longevity, lingzhi (sacred fungus). These special mushrooms were found on the paradise islands of Penglai. In Chinese mythology the Penglai mountain is often called the base of the Eight Immortals, or at least where they travelled to have a banquet. In Chinese art the spotted deer usually accompanies Shoulao or Magu, the God and Goddess of Longevity. Because of all this, even today the horns of deer have an important place in Chinese medicine and can be found in every Chinese apothecary shop. The soft internal part of the horns is dried, pulverised, and made up into pills. The inferior parts are boiled up into jelly or tincture. 

 

The importance of spotted deer in Chinese culture today was also reflected in a gift by Taiwan to the Chinese mainland in 2011 of two rare sika or spotted deer for the Liugongdao National Forest Park in east China's Shandong Province. The sika deer is one of the very few deer species that does not lose its spots upon reaching maturity. Spot patterns vary with the region. The color of the pelage ranges from mahogany to black, and white individuals are also known. (GOV.cn Chinese Government's Official Web Portal), (wikipedia.org)

 

Next to the Fêng (vide Phoenix), the crane (grus motignesia) is an auspicious symbol, representing longevity and wisdom, it is the mostly celebrated in Chinese legends, in which it is endowed with many mythical attributes. It is reputed as the patriarch of the feathered tribe and the aerial courser of the Immortals. It is one of the commonest emblems of longevity, being generally depicted under a pine tree-also a symbol of age. (Williams 1976, pp.332-333), (Jörg 2011/2, p.115)

 

This dish has a channel footring. It is still not known what its function may have been, but possibly the dish - filled with food or offerings - was meant to be placed on a wooden stand, which would have made it more stable. Dishes with channel footrings  first appear in the 1670s and were made until c.1700; they no longer appear in 18th-century assortments. (Jörg 2011/2, p.49)

 

Condition: Some missing pieces of blue enamel and some wear to the iron-red decoration. Three shallow chips and various glaze rough spots to the rim.

 

References:

Williams 1976, p.101

Jörg 2011/2, p.49 & p.115

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011494 and 2011495
2011494 and 2011495

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Objects 2011494 and 2011495

 

Two bowls

 

China

 

1700-1720

 

2011494: Height 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of rim 135 mm (5.32 inch), diameter of footring 65 mm (2.56 inch), weight 270 grams (9.52 ounce (oz.))

2011495: Height 75 mm (2.95 inch), diameter of rim 135 mm (5.32 inch), diameter of footring 65 mm (2.56 inch), weight 272 grams (9.59 ounce (oz.))

 

Published: Porzellanschätze der Kangxi-Zeit / Porcelain Treasures of the Kangxi Period, (Exhibition catalogue, Deutsch-Chinesische Verlagsanstalt, Düsseldorf / Beijing 2015), p.176, cat 97.

 

Exhibited: Porzellanschätze der Kangxi-Zeit / Porcelain Treasures of the Kangxi Period, (Exhibition catalogue, Deutsch-Chinesische Verlagsanstalt, Düsseldorf / Beijing 2015), p.176, cat 97. 

 

Pair of bowls on footrings with spreading sides, slightly everted rims. Covered with a light-brown glaze. Decorated in famille verte enamels with two groups flowering plants, one with a bird the other with a grasshopper perched on a branch. The rim with a border of flower sprays on a green-speckled ground (frog-spawn). The inner rim with a border of flower sprays on a green-speckled ground and four cartouches filled with a fish among water plants. On the bottom a single crab. On the base of object 2011494 an old paper collectors label.

 

Natural scenes were a popular decorative design element on Chinese porcelain from the Wanli period onwards. The large grasshopper is a nice example of the interest in insects by the Chinese porcelain painters depicted on famille verte wares from c.1700. (Jörg 2011/2, p.71)

 

For a similarly bowl, please see:

Condition:

2011494: A firing flaw with connected frit to the footring and a chip to the rim.

2011495: Perfect. 

 

References:

Berlin 1929, cat. 913

Jörg 2002/2, cat. 74

Jörg 2011/2, cat. 73

Düsseldorf 2015, cat. 97

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011055
2011055

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Object 2011055

 

Small bowl

 

China

 

c.1700

 

Height 49 mm (1.92 inch), diameter of rim 85 mm (3.35 inch), diameter of footring 35 mm (1.38 inch)

 

Small bowl on footring with spreading sides and a slightly everted rim. Covered with a light-brown glaze and decorated in overglaze famille verte enamels, black and iron-red. The interior rim and bottom in underglaze blue. Decorated with a taihu (garden) rock, flowering plants, a butterfly, insects and a grasshopper. On the inside rim a border of zig-zag lines pattern border. On the bottom a single flowering stem. Marked on the base with the symbol mark: 'Artemisia leaf', in a double circle, in underglaze blue.

 

The interest of Chinese porcelain painters in insects, evident from the Wanli period onwards, is particularly apparent on famille verte wares of c.1700. It does not appear to have any special symbolic or auspicious meaning. (Jörg 2011/2, p.71)

 

For an identically decorated teacup and saucer, please see,

Condition: A hairline to the rim.

 

References:

Berlin 1929, cat. 913

Staatliche Schlöser und Gärten 1998, Abb. 29

Jörg 2002/2, cat. 74

Jörg 2011/2, p.71, cat. 73.

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011809
2011809

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Object 2011809

 

Saucer

 

China

 

1700-1720

 

Height: 20 mm (0.79 inch), diameter of rim 129 mm (5.08 inch), diameter of footring 61 mm (2.40 inch), weight 74 grams (2.61 ounce (oz.))

 

Saucer on footring, flat rim with a foliated edge. Decorated in various famille verte enamels with a qilin and a tiger in a garden, looking up at a flying pheasant. Round the rim a zig-zag lines pattern border. On the reverse three flower sprays. Marked on the base with a shop mark in a double circle in underglaze blue.

 

The qilin, like the dragon, the phoenix and the Black Warior tortoise, is one of the Four Divine Creatures, siling. The qilin, like the dragon, is a combination of parts, attributes and characteristics of other animals. It has a sheep's head, dragon's scales of fur, a deer's body, the feet and hooves of a horse and the tail of an ox. It can have one horn or a pair of horns on its head. These horns, unlike those of other horned creatures, are fleshly and tipped with white hair. This peculiarity makes it an animal unfit for aggression or war. The qilin for Western perception a strange and fierce-looking creature, is in Chinese mythology most auspicious. It stands for perfect goodwill, benevolence, gentleness and integrity. It is, like the phoenix, said to be very kind towards other living beings. When among other animals, they would lose all sense of their own mutual fear and would not harm each other. When a qilin appears in the world, it is always a happy omen. It comes to humanity only when great events foreshadow the birth of a sage. For this reason, it is most identified with Confucius. It is said that before his birth one appeared to his mother. The pheasant is sometimes used in the place of the phoenix, and partakes of all its attributes, being a common emblem of beauty and good fortune. The tiger is called by the Chinese the 'King of Beasts' and is the greatest of four-footed creatures, representing the masculine principle of nature. Its real or imaginary qualities afford them matter fore more metaphors than any other wild animal. (Williams 1976, p.323 & pp.398-399), (Ströber 2011, p.66)  

 

The presence of the qilin in paintings and decorative arts can be considered a compliment to the reigning emperor. As a result of this symbolic significance, in 1662 the Kangxi Emperor, on the urgings of his advisors, instated the mythical qilin as the highest symbol of rank amongst his military officers,replacing the lion on the military rank badges. There it remained untill the fall of the empire in 1911. (Bjaaland Welch 2008, pp.140-141)

 

The combination of these three animals (qilin, pheasant and tiger) is strange. Normally the bird in this posture should have been a phoenix. Perhaps decorating instructions were misunderstood or we must see the combination pure for decoration rather than a cultural purpose. 

 

Condition: Restored, two re-stuck pieces to the rim and a drilled hole in the centre (now filled).

 

References:

Williams 1976, p.323 & pp.398-399

Bjaaland Welch 2008, pp.140-141

Ströber 2011, p.66

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011371
2011371

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Object 2011371

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1720

 

Height 52 mm (2.05 inch), diameter of rim 260 mm (10.24 inch), diameter of footring 120 mm (4.72 inch), weight 479 grams (16.90 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on a footring with a wide, flat underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Decorated in underglaze blue, various famille verte enamels and gold. In the centre a vase on a stand richly filled with flowering chrysanthemum, pine and peony on a fenced terrace surrounded by a border with six cartouches decorated with a butterfly alternating with a chrysanthemum flower head. The sides and rim with three shaped panels and three flowering chrysanthemums reserved on a underglaze blue ground with scrollwork in gold. The panels are filled with flowering plants, rocks, birds or a butterfly. On the reverse rim a border with six cartouches filled with a butterfly, a fish or a shrimp; on the sides four flower sprays.

 

While making these dishes the Chinese potters must have been clearly inspired by Japanese Imari examples, similarities in design and technique are obvious. A large Japanese dish of this pattern is in the Museum Boymans - van Beuningen, Rotterdam. The Chinese dishes were made in various sizes, a large, 534 mm (21.02 inch), dish is in the Dresden collection of August the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. The design is known as the 'Stanislaw pattern', named after the Polish King Stanilas Augustus Poniatowsky (r.1764-1795) who, in 1776, had earthenware copies made by the Belvedere factory in Warsaw as a present to Abdul Hamid I, Sultan of Turkey. A large part of it remains in the Topkapi Sary Museum. (Amsterdam 1972. p.35, cat. 111), (Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 1, pp.144-145)

 

For this Polish earthenware copy, please see:

For identically shaped and decorated Japanese (c.1700) and Meissen (c.1725-30) dishes, please see:

Jörg suggests that the design served as a model for close copies in Polish earthenware, made for the Polish King Stanislaw II Poniatowsky (r.1764-1795) as additions to his set of Chinese originals. One of these copied earthenware dishes from the Poniatowsky service is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In the late 18th century the design was also copied by the Cozzi factory in Italy. (Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 285), (Jörg 2011/2, p.52)

 

The vase filled with various kinds of flowers, derives from Chinese Kraak porcelain and symbolises riches and abundance. It is seen as an attribute of Lan Caihe, one of the "Eight Daoist Immortals" and patron of gardeners It was a highly popular motif, appearing on many Jingdezhen underglaze blue and polychrome porcelains. (Pinto de Matos 1996, p.273), (Jörg 2011/2, p,60

 

For identically decorated dishes, please see:

Condition: Some wear to the golden decoration, a fleabite to the rim and some shallow fleabites and frits to the footring.

  

References:

Amsterdam 1972. cat.111

Howard & Ayers 1978, vol. 1, cat. 126

New York 1985, lot 75

Ayers, Impey & Mallet 1990, cat. 285

Kassel 1990, cat. 139a-d

Pinto de Matos 1996, p.273

Jörg 2011/2, cat. 47

Sargent 2012, p.183

Castelluccio 2013, Fig. 64

London 2014, cat 20

 

Price: Sold.

 

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2011643
2011643

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Object 2011643

 

Dish

 

China

 

c.1700

 

Height 33 mm (1.30 inch), diameter of rim 238 mm (9.37 inch), diameter of footring 119 mm (4.69 inch), weight 405 grams (14.29 ounce (oz.))

 

Dish on footring with an underglaze brown-edged 'pie-crust' rim (jia mangkou). Decorated in various famille verte enamels (green, yellow, aubergine), iron-red, black and gold with a garden scene with a fence bedecked with lotus blossom, flowers and a flowering prunus in front of two 'Long Eliza' figures, near whom is a table bearing vases on stands. The sides with a red dentate pattern border and flowering lotus scrolls on a speckled green ground with four lobed cartouches, two filled with sundry objects the other two with a shishi and a wheel of law with ribbons. Each of the small lobes of the modeled rim has a stylised lotus-petal motif. On the reverse three flower sprays.

 

Slender Chinese women in a garden may reflect a literary source, or may merely be depictions of beautiful ladies. (Jörg 2011/2, p. 37)

 

This decoration shows one of the most popular motifs of that time, the slender Chinese woman, holding a flower. In Dutch she was called a Lange Lijs, which became 'Long Eliza' in English. The 'pie-crust' rim with its tiny indented panels is modelled after a European metal or ceramic dish. (Jörg & Van Campen 1997, p.101), (Jörg 2011/2, p.42)

 

For a pair identically sized and decorated dishes, please see:

For identically shaped dishes decorated in famille verte enamels, please see:

For octagonal shaped dishes with identical 'pie-crust' rim, decorated in famille verte enamels, please see:

Condition: Restored.

  

References:

Lunsingh Scheurleer 1977, cat. 148

Boulay 1984, p. 261, cat. 12

Pinto de Matos 1996, cat. 108, 109 & 110

Jörg & Van Campen 1997, cat. 91

Jörg 2002/2, cat. 79

Jörg 2011/2, p.37 & cat. 31 & 32

  

Price: Sold.

 

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2011117
2011117

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Object 2011117

 

Dish

 

China

 

1720-1725

 

Height 28 mm (1.10 inch), diameter 237 mm (9.33 inch), diameter of footring 130 mm (5.12 inch)

 

Dish on footring, straight underglaze brown-edged rim (jia mangkou). Decorated in various overglaze famille verte enamels with a woman standing in a fenced garden with a willow tree, taihu (garden) rocks and flowering plants, observing a man seated at a table inside the pavillion, On the rim flower heads with various leaves. The reverse is undecorated.

 

For an identically decorated dish, please see:

Condition: A shallow glaze frit to the rim.

 

References:

Visser 1930, cat. 17

Sargent 2012, p.183

 

Price: Sold.

 

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