AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL BEIJING ENAMEL MELON-SHAPED TEAPOT AND COVER Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark and of the period (3)

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Lot 40
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL BEIJING ENAMEL MELON-SHAPED TEAPOT AND COVER
Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark and of the period

Sold for £ 2,062,750 (US$ 2,813,810) inc. premium
The Property of a Lady 女士藏品
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL BEIJING ENAMEL MELON-SHAPED TEAPOT AND COVER
Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark and of the period
The elegant lobed panels each exquisitely enamelled with various scenes of mountainous or lakeside landscapes and flowers with butterflies and insects, all on a dappled light-blue ground, separated by pink bands of floral scrolls and between ruyi-shaped borders at the foot and shoulder, set with a gilt-bronze handle issuing at each end from a dragon head, the curved gilt-bronze spout also issuing from a dragon head, the domed and lobed cover decorated with further floral motifs and fishermen and sages within mountainous landscapes, separated by scrolling acanthus leaves, reserved on a rich yellow ground, surmounted by a gilt-bronze finial, the mark on the base surrounded by a painted mythical beast, with a zitan stand.
15cm (5 7/8in) long. (3).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆 御製畫琺瑯瓜棱式壺
    「乾隆年製」楷書款

    Provenance:
    Spink & Son Ltd., London
    Mrs E. A. Parry (1879-1977), London, acquired from the above on 30 September 1925, and thence by descent

    Published, Illustrated and Exhibited:
    Spink & Son Ltd., A Selection of Oriental Works of Art, London, circa 1925, p.38
    Royal Academy of Arts, International Exhibition of Chinese Art, London, 1935-1936, p.187, no.2191.

    來源:
    倫敦古董商Spink & Son Ltd.
    倫敦E. A. Parry夫人(1879-1977)舊藏,於1925年9月30日購自上者,並由後人保存迄今

    展覽著錄:
    Spink & Son Ltd.,《A Selection of Oriental Works of Art》,倫敦,約1925年,頁38
    皇家藝術學院,《中國藝術國際展覽會》,倫敦,1935-1936年,頁169,編號2191

    This present teapot is the only known example of this unique form and type to remain in a private collection. It is one of only three examples known, with the other two in museum collections: the first is in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated by H.Chen, Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, Taipei, 1999, pp.224-225, no.114; and the second is in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri (acc.no.50-24.1,2), which was purchased for the museum in 1950 by the William Rockhill Nelson Trust from C.T. Loo & Co., New York. The National Palace Museum, Taipei teapot and the Nelson-Atkins Museum one are both identically decorated and with very similar dragon handle and spout, however they all slightly differ, as well as the Parry one, in the form of the finial on the cover.

    Importantly, a pair of similar melon-shaped teapots, are both recorded in the Zaobanchu gezuo chengzuo huaji qingdang 'Archives of the Workshop of the Qing Imperial Household Department' (for a full discussion see the essay by Zhang Rong, Palace Museum, Beijing). An Imperial Decree by the Qianlong Emperor, dated to the second day of the fifth month of the fifth year of his reign (corresponding to 24th May 1740) states:

    In the fifth year of the Qianlong reign, Qianqing Palace, on the second day of the fifth month, Chief commissioner Samuha of the seventh rank said that the eunuch Gao Yu and others presented two painted enamel melon-lobed teapots. The decree was passed, and the matching case was placed in the Qianqing Palace with the enamel vessels. By order of the Emperor.

    An earlier Archival record, dated to the third year of the Qianlong reign, corresponding to 1738, records that a single enamel teapot was made and a further pair was subsequently made by order of the Emperor.

    The Third year of Qianlong, Enamel Workshop. On the Eighteenth day of the Third month, chief Wu Shu said that the eunuch Mao Tuan presented a small painted enamel copper body teapot. The Decree was passed that another pair should be made according to this. By order of the Emperor.
    On the Twenty-seventh of the of the Twelfth month of this year, chief Wu Shu presented the pair of small painted enamel teapots and the model to eunuch Mao Tuan for inspection.


    This extraordinary Imperial Archival records proves that the Parry teapot, the National Palace Museum, Taipei one and the Nelson-Atkins Museum example, were made in the Beijing Imperial Enamel Workshop early in the Qianlong reign, and indeed this select group demonstrates direct continuity of style from the preceding Yongzheng period. It also demonstrates that they were made as a special commission for the use of the Qianlong Emperor, and that they deserved his personal attention. The record also provides us with the location for two teapots, as decreed by the Qianlong Emperor - the Qianqing Palace, in the Forbidden City, Beijing, where other treasured objects were kept by the Emperor. As noted by Zhang Rong in her essay in this Catalogue, it is interesting to note that that the National Palace Museum, Taipei teapot has a collection number from the stock taking in 1925, locating it at the time in the Yangxin Hall, 'Hall of Mental Cultivation'.

    This important teapot was included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art held at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, London, in 1935-1936. This seminal exhibition had the patronage of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary, and the President of the Chinese Republic. It included over 3,000 objects, with important loans from the Chinese Government, and many worldwide museums and private collections, notably that of Sir Percival David – the roll call of the greatest collectors of Chinese art in the west in the 20th century. E.A. Parry loaned 6 pieces to the Exhibition, demonstrating the superb quality of the Collection and the high esteem in which it was held by the exhibition committee, which was directed by Sir Percival David. These pieces were admired to this date in the Parry family homes and this is the first time since the 1935-1936 Exhibition that they are seen in public once again. The painted enamel section in the catalogue included about 20 exhibits, two of which belonged to E.A. Parry, including the present teapot.

    Notable for its elegant form, the exquisite painterly enamelled decoration and the perfect combination of opulent decoration and technical perfection, conveyed by the juxtaposition of polychrome enamels, including Imperial yellow richly decorating the cover, and the meticulous attention to detail devoted to the decorative designs, make the present teapot an exceptionally rare outstanding example of the Imperial Workshops in Beijing during the early years of the celebrated Qianlong period.

    The technique of enamelling on metal was first introduced in Guangzhou by Jesuit missionaries around 1684. Beginning from the reign of the Kangxi Emperor and throughout the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, however, more artisans were sent to Beijing to set up the Imperial Workshops. The manufacturing process usually began by coating the metal object with a white 'glaze' similar to that used on porcelain. The vessel was then fired at low temperature, which secured the enamel to the metal body. Decorators then applied the design in coloured enamels and the piece was fired again at low temperatures. The final stage involved the gilding of the rims where the copper was left exposed. Referred to as yangcai or 'foreign enamel' as it was initially imported from Europe, the enamelling pigments started being produced in China from around 1728, with the creation of opaque white enamel.

    In Qing Palace records, painted enamel was categorised into enamel painting on gold, silver, copper, enamel painting on Yixing stoneware, enamel painting on porcelain and even enamel painting on glass. The Imperial Household Workshops, Zaobanchu, of the Qing dynasty were established in the Hall of Mental Cultivation, Yangxindian, during the Kangxi reign. The 'Records of the Various Imperial Household Workshops', Zaobanchu gezuocheng zao huoji qingdang, begun in 1723 and continued up to 1911, faithfully recording the names, places of origin, times of creation, formats, materials, manufacturing processes and even the edicts associated with them.

    By the 18th century, the craft of enamelling on metal had reached perfection with forms and designs reflecting the Emperor's extravagant and opulent taste. During the early decades of the Qianlong reign, no expense was spared in developing the Palace Enamelling Workshops using a wide range of subjects. The Qianlong Emperor not only demanded technical perfection but was willing to expend considerable sums in order to obtain innovative and artistically superior pieces.

    Teapots reserved for use by the Emperor and high-ranking members of the Court were made in various forms, including globular and lobed shapes, and the decoration ranged from floral shrubs, 'cracked prunus' designs, flower heads, mythical creatures, to European subjects and landscape scenes, many of which were inspired by the painting production of the time.

    The various decorative elements depicted on the present vessel ingeniously combine Chinese and European traditions and innovations, exhibiting total technical control and superb artistry accomplished by the Qianlong-period enamellers at their zenith. This can be seen in the remarkable richness and variety of the enamel colours evident in the wide variety, ranging from bright yellow tone, various shades of pink, red and blue, turquoise and brown-black. Additionally, the European influence, through the involvement of Jesuit painters in the Imperial Workshops, as well as the influence derived from European works of art given to the Court, is evident in the landscape scenes, as well as in decorative motifs such as the elaborate curling fronds.

    In addition, the tiny pale blue speckles on the landscapes depicted in the cartouches display the stippling technique which can also be seen on Western enamelled vessels. This artistic device created a gradation of shade or colour through the application of a multitude of tiny dots, which allowed for wide variation in intensity of colour without constantly changing the saturation of the enamel; see Shi Jingfei, Radiant Luminance: The Painted Enamelware of the Qing Imperial Court, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2012.

    The melon form of the present teapot appears, however, to have been inspired by Imperial jade prototypes. These, in turn, were influenced by Mughal jades, which were much admired by the Qianlong Emperor; see a while jade 'melon-shaped' teapot and cover, with gilt-bronze and cloisonné enamel mounts, Jiaqing yuyong mark, Qianlong period, illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum: Jade 10 Qing Dynasty, Beijing, 2011, no.125.

    Idyllic mountainous landscape scenes, as seen on the teapot, were popular with scholars during the Qing dynasty, frequently portraying one or more number of sages often accompanied by their attendants. Deemed to function as analogues to their real counterpart, these model landscapes provided the learned men with an idealised escape from the world of mundane affairs where they could forge their identity as poets, calligraphers and philosophers; for further discussion see A.Stein, 'The World in Miniature: Container Gardens and Dwellings', in Far Eastern Religious Thought, Stanford, 1990; and J.Rawson, 'Cosmological Systems as Sources of Art, Ornament and Design', in Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 2000, pp.133-189.

    The two other similar teapots are in the museum collections of the National Palace Museum, Taipei (see H.Chen, Enamel Ware in the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, Taipei, 1999, pp.224-225, no.114); and the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, as noted above. However, compare also, from the Qing Court Collection, a related painted enamel teapot and cover, Qianlong mark and period, of lobed octagonal shape, decorated with cartouches depicting landscape, flowers and bird designs, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures in the Palace Museum. Enamels. Painted Enamels in the Qing Dynasty, vol.5, Beijing, 2011, pp.156-157, no.116; and see also a related white-ground painted enamel teapot and cover with a lobed body, Qianlong mark and period, decorated with polychrome flowerheads, illustrated in Ibid., p.154, no.114.

    The present lot displays exceptional complexity in form and in its variety of designs including landscapes, figures, flowers and butterflies as well as geometric designs. However, see a related Beijing enamel teapot, Qianlong four-character mark and period, but of simpler curving rectangular form with floral designs, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 April 2004, lot 1804.



    銅胎,壺蓋、腹、及圈足皆八瓣八楞,圓潤飽滿,流自腹部龍口伸出,把手上下飾龍首。內施淺藍釉,球鈕座的周圍飾圖案花,蓋面明黃作地,渲染赭色山水人物及花卉,畫面與壺身一一對應。壺口下方及圈足上方飾回紋一圈,肩垂內含人字鎧甲錦之如意云頭紋,腹部棱瓣上相間排列設色山水人物及月季蝴蝶、梅蘭、茶花、芙蓉等四季花卉。底白地由赭色的夔龍蟠成圓框,內書藍色「乾隆年製」雙行楷書款。

    本例畫琺瑯瓜棱式壺,造型獨特,紋飾精美,筆法細膩,濃淡分明,裝飾層次繁複,釉彩用料考究,是已知三件同類器物之一,也是已知唯一一例存於私人收藏的同類器物。台北國立故宮博物院館藏一件與本例如出一轍的清乾隆畫琺瑯瓜棱式壺,收錄於陳夏生著,《明清琺瑯器展覽圖錄》,1999年,頁224-5,圖版114。另一例藏於美國納爾遜-阿特金斯藝術博物館,藏品編號50-24.1,2,由William Rockhill Nelson信託於1950年購自盧芹齋於紐約的古董店盧吳公司。台北故宮及納爾遜-阿特金斯藝術博物館館藏的兩例畫琺瑯瓜棱式壺,紋飾相同,龍口和把手所飾龍首也非常相似;但包括本拍品在內的三例之蓋鈕皆存在些許差異。

    尤為重要的是,清宮《造辦處各作成做活計清檔》曾提及一對「銅胎畫琺瑯瓜瓣壺」(詳見故宮博物院張榮前文之論述):
    「乾隆五年,乾清宮,五月初二日七品首領薩木哈來說,太監高玉等交銅胎畫琺瑯瓜瓣壺二件。傳旨,著配匣入乾清宮琺瑯器皿一處。欽此。」

    而更早的一份檔案則記錄了琺瑯作曾奉旨依照一把銅胎琺瑯小壺燒造一對:
    「乾隆三年,琺瑯作。三月十八日首領吳書來說,太監毛團交銅胎琺瑯小壺一把,傳旨,照樣燒造一對。欽此。
    於本年十二月二十七日首領吳書將銅胎琺瑯小壺一把並照樣做得琺瑯壺一對持進交太監毛團呈進訖。」

    這份檔案記錄表明,Parry氏所藏畫琺瑯壺及台北故宮與納爾遜-阿特金斯藝術博物館所藏兩例皆為清宮造辦處琺瑯作於乾隆初年製作,裝飾及落款風格承接前朝。這同時也表明其皆為乾隆皇帝御用而作,並獲其親澤。乾隆皇帝曾諭旨將如此兩例畫琺瑯壺其存放於紫禁城乾清宮,珍視程度可見一斑。而如張榮文章中所述,台北故宮所藏一例標註參考編號則以「呂」字開頭,即1925年清點故宮藏品時於養心殿存放。

    本拍品曾借展1935至1936年於倫敦皇家藝術學院伯靈頓宮舉辦的中國藝術國際展覽會。這一史無前例的展覽得到了中英政府及雙方人士的大力支持,由雙方元首擔任名譽主持人,英王喬治五世和瑪麗王后為監理。展品共計三千餘件,包括中國政府應邀出借的故宮文物等藏品,及來自世界各地的公私收藏精品,借展名單幾乎囊括了二十世紀西方世界最為重要的中國藝術收藏家。E.A. Parry向本次展覽出借了六件藏品,這也顯示了其收藏品味之卓越及展覽籌備委員會對其之激賞。展覽結束後,Parry氏藏品淡出公眾視野,僅供家族成員賞玩;本次拍賣是1936年以來本品首次出現在公眾面前。展覽金屬胎畫琺瑯器部分共有約20件展品,包括本例在內的兩件由E.A. Parry借展。

    十五世紀中葉,歐洲發明了畫琺瑯的製作技法,後隨海運貿易往來以及西方傳教士呈進傳入中國。清初畫琺瑯製品經由粵海關入境時,就地設廠研製,稱之為「洋磁」;康熙年間始設內務府造辦處琺瑯作,開始燒造畫琺瑯器;至雍正朝,已經形成了內廷琺瑯處和廣州、蘇州三大畫琺瑯生產中心。本例釉質瑩潤,施彩精到,色澤明麗,用筆工致,無疑出自內廷造辦處琺瑯作名家之手筆。

    乾隆皇帝酷愛畫琺瑯器物,對工藝要求精益求精,不斷召廣州琺瑯工匠趕赴內廷,又於乾隆二十七年,將畫院處與琺瑯處合併,除了著名的畫家歸如意館外,畫院的主管官員與畫家並到琺瑯處「一體行走」,以保證畫琺瑯製品的藝術水準及一致性。乾隆皇帝不僅親自詢問造辦處琺瑯作的生產情況,還常對產品的燒造提出意見。在此期间,畫琺瑯工藝發展突飛猛進,且造型式樣推陳出新。單單畫琺瑯壺具就有執壺及提梁壺各式傳世,依壺身形狀又有鼓形、方形、扇面形、八棱形、瓜棱形等各式。紋飾題材更是各不相同,多見纏枝紋、團花紋、或四時花卉等一體裝飾,偶有山水或西洋人物題材;如本例者以幾何紋飾開光、並結合花卉及山水題材於一體者,不但新穎別緻且品級甚高。

    本例之上各式裝飾元素巧妙地融會東西並加以創新,展示了乾隆時期琺瑯匠師精湛的工藝水準。所用琺瑯顏料色彩紛呈,黃、紅、粉、藍、綠、及棕黑色,深淺不一,濃淡合宜。而西式捲草框圍開光,也可能是受到來自歐洲畫琺瑯裝飾紋樣之影響。開光內山水花卉皆以淡藍色點畫渲染背景,或也取自西方琺瑯器繪畫技法;可以在不改變琺瑯顏料飽和度的前提下,實現陰影和漸變之效果。詳見施靜菲著,《日月光華:清宮畫琺瑯》,台北國立故宮博物院,2012年。

    本例執壺之瓜棱式造型也可在御用玉器中找到原型,尤其是頗受乾隆皇帝激賞的痕都斯坦式玉器。如一例清宮舊藏一例清乾隆白玉羊首瓜棱式提梁壺,「嘉慶御用」隸書刻款,收錄於《故宮博物院藏品大系:玉器編10,清》,北京,2011年,頁171,編號125。

    而觀壺身所繪四幅田園山水,山野人家,梅間茅舍,松蔭行旅,流水扁舟,一派世外桃源,怡然自樂之景象。中國歷代文人雅士既追崇兼濟天下的入世精神,又懷抱超越世俗的出世情懷。田園風景,小橋人家,不僅是文人理想生活狀態之所在,也是帝王遠離廟堂,復返自然,淨心明性之寄託。參考A.Stein著〈The World in Miniature: Container Gardens and Dwellings〉,收錄於《Far Eastern religious thought》,斯坦福,1990年;以及J.Rawson著,〈Cosmological Systems as Sources of Art, Ornament and Design〉,收錄於《Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities》,2000年,頁133-189。

    已知存世兩例相似者,分別藏於台北故宮(呂四八八24之1 故琺03.11.000587 院 1906)與美國納爾遜-阿特金斯藝術博物館(藏品編號50-24.1,2),造型、紋飾風格、乃至署款方式,皆與本例如出一轍。另可对比北京故宮所藏一例清乾隆畫琺瑯八棱開光山水花鳥圖提梁壺(故116586),壺身亦作八面開光,並以花鳥及山水相間裝飾,參《故宮博物院藏品大系·琺瑯器編5:清畫琺瑯》,北京,2011年,頁156,編號116;及一例清乾隆畫琺瑯冰梅紋壺(故116609),壺身瓜棱式,出處同上,頁151,編號114。

    本例紋飾結合山水、人物、花鳥、乃至幾何圖形,目不暇給,拍賣記錄中鮮有先例。香港蘇富比曾於2004年4月7日售出一例清乾隆御製畫琺瑯牡丹紋壺,呈扇面四方形,紋飾較本例略簡,拍品編號1804,可資比對。
Contacts
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL BEIJING ENAMEL MELON-SHAPED TEAPOT AND COVER Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark and of the period (3)
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL BEIJING ENAMEL MELON-SHAPED TEAPOT AND COVER Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark and of the period (3)
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE AND IMPORTANT IMPERIAL BEIJING ENAMEL MELON-SHAPED TEAPOT AND COVER Qianlong blue enamel four-character mark and of the period (3)
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