AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776 (2)

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Lot 59
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER
Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776

Sold for £ 287,750 (US$ 392,521) inc. premium
The Property of a Lady 女士藏品
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER
Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776
The wide elegant body supported on a spreading circular foot and curving upwards to a gently-flared rim, the domed cover with a circular knop, decorated overall with raised vertical petals, all lacquered in brilliant vermillion, the tip of the cover and the base of the bowl each with a gilt four-character Imperial zhuanshu seal mark, the central interior cartouches lacquered black and each gilt with a dated kaishu inscription. 10.6cm (4 1/8in) diam. (2).

Footnotes

  • 清乾隆四十一年 御製脫胎朱漆御題詩菊瓣式蓋盌
    「乾隆年製」、「乾隆丙申春御題」篆書款

    Provenance:
    Spink & Son Ltd., London,
    Mrs E. A. Parry (1879-1977), London, acquired from the above on 30 June 1933, and thence by descent

    Published, Illustrated and Exhibited:
    Royal Academy of Arts, International Exhibition of Chinese Art, London, 1935-1936, p.252, no.2957.

    來源:
    倫敦古董商Spink & Son Ltd.
    倫敦E. A. Parry夫人(1879-1977)舊藏,於1933年6月30日購自上者,並由後人保存迄今

    展覽著錄:
    皇家藝術學院,《中國藝術國際展覽會》,倫敦,1935-1936年,頁252,編號2957

    The present lot was exhibited in one of the most historic and prestigious exhibitions of Chinese art ever held. The exhibition's importance is reflected by its patrons who not only included King George V and Queen Mary, but also the President of the Chinese Republic. The committee of honour included luminaries such as Hu Shi and Cai Yuanpei; and the executive committee counted among its members renowned collectors and scholars such as R.L.Hobson, George Eumorfopoulos and Sir Percival David. With 3077 exhibits, it was not only one of the largest exhibitions of Chinese art, but many of the exhibits, including rare objects from the Palace Museum were seen in Europe for the first time. In this extraordinary exhibition, the present lot was amongst the very few Imperial Qianlong period lacquer wares chosen to be included, alongside a red lacquer 'chrysanthemum' dish, Qianlong mark and of the period, inscribed with an Imperial poem, lent by Sir Percival David, who was the Director of the Exhibition Committee.

    Compare with an identical lacquer chrysanthemum-shaped tea bowl and cover, also gilt decorated with two Qianlong seal marks and an inscribed Imperial poem, in the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty: The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2006, pp.215, no.164. See also another identical bowl in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, gifted by Sir Harry Garner, illustrated by H.Garner, Chinese Lacquer, London-Boston, p.150, pl.97.

    The present bowl and cover were made by Imperial commission by artisans in Suzhou specialising in the 'hollow dry-lacquer' technique, with the inscriptions then carved in the Imperial Workshop in Beijing. With remarkably thin and delicate walls, the 'chrysanthemum' petals of the cover perfectly fit the fluted bowl, representing the highest quality of Qing Imperial lacquer craftsmanship. The interior of the bowl and the cover both have a gilt inscription of a poem by the Qianlong Emperor, dated 1776 which compares the vessel to a chrysanthemum flower. The poems may be translated as follows:

    'It is made in the form of a fragrant chrysanthemum,
    And yet it is even more delicate,
    Drinking tea from it may be likened to sipping dew,
    from a newly plucked blossom.
    Imperially inscribed in the Spring of the Bingshen year of the Qianlong reign'.

    The Qianlong Emperor's poem likens drinking tea from this cup to drinking dew from a chrysanthemum: a fairy-like experience reserved for poets, Immortals and sages. The chrysanthemum was long associated with the poet Tao Yuanming (365-427) who lived during the turbulent transition between the Jin and Liu Song dynasties. To escape the political turmoil, he retired in midlife to a small estate to live out his days in rustic obscurity, drinking wine and writing poetry. Private and quiet as his life was, Tao's reputation grew steadily after his death, particularly for his associations with chrysanthemums, which he grew in a small patch by the eastern fence of his retirement estate; see S.Nelson, 'Revisiting the Eastern Fence: Tao Qian's Chrysanthemums', The Art Bulletin, 2001, vol.83, no.3, pp.437-460.

    The chrysanthemum, an autumnal flower, together with Tao's poetry of retirement, came to encapsulate the eremitic ideal of the scholar returning to nature for quiet contemplation. Over time, the chrysanthemum, together with the bamboo, orchid and prunus was regarded as one of the 'Four Gentlemanly Flowers': flowers that represented Confucian ideals to be emulated by true gentlemen. As such, the chrysanthemum flower provided much inspiration to artists and craftsmen from as early as the Song dynasty.

    Bowls and vessels decorated with chrysanthemum motifs were traditional gifts bestowed at Imperial celebrations, particularly during the Double Ninth festival (occurring on the ninth day of the ninth month) or Double Yang festival, where it was customary to climb a high mountain, drink chrysanthemum liquor and wear chrysanthemum flowers. Chrysanthemums were considered to have cleansing qualities and were used in medicine to cure illness and thus were also emblematic of longevity and fertility, because of the multitude of their petals. Chrysanthemums appear to have been popular motifs decorating vessels produced during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, and because of the flowers' association with longevity, it is possible that the Emperor took an increasing interest in the motif as he approached retirement. See also a red lacquer chrysanthemum-shaped box and cover, Qianlong seal mark and of the period, with gilt poetic inscription, from the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Lacquer Wares of the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2006, p.216, no.165.

    The Qianlong Emperor's enthusiasm for the chrysanthemum motif may also have been inspired by a powerful predecessor of his, the Yongle Emperor. On a red lacquer 'chrysanthemum' dish, Qianlong mark and of the period, illustrated by J.Ayers, Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2016, vol.III, p.848, no.1954, there is a poem dated 1774, the title of which is 'In praise of a chrysanthemum dish made in imitation of the vermillion lacquer of the reign of the Yongle Emperor' (Yong fang Yongle zhuqi juhua pan). The Ming dynasty Yongle Emperor (1403-1424) was one of the most energetic and powerful rulers in Chinese history. Under his vibrant reign, numerous technical heights were reached in the production of porcelain and lacquer. Not to be outdone, the Qianlong Emperor also may have felt that he wished to appropriate the chrysanthemum form of lacquerware for himself, as both a homage to former glorious Emperors and also as a subtle expression of his own stature.

    Compare with an identical cinnabar lacquer 'chrysanthemum' bowl and cover, Qianlong seal mark and of the period, which was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 24 November 2013, lot 342.



    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。中方籌備委員會包括蔡元培、馬衡等學界巨擎,多位英國著名收藏家、學者如霍蒲森(R.L.Hobson)、歐摩福波羅士(George Eumorfopoulos)、以及大維德爵士等出任理事。展覽展出共計3077件藏品,不但是有史以來規模最大的中國藝術展覽之一,並且也是包含故宮文物在內的中方借展藏品首次在歐洲展出。作為此次展覽中為數不多的乾隆御製漆器之一,本例脫胎朱漆御題詩菊瓣式蓋盌與大維德爵士出借的一例脫胎朱漆御題詩菊瓣式盤一同展出。

    蓋盌夾紵胎,菊瓣式,圓敞口,略外撇,深弧腹,平底,矮圈足。通體髹朱漆,蓋內及盌心髹黑漆,有刀刻填金隸書乾隆御製詩《題朱漆菊花茶盃》:
    「制是菊花式,把比菊花輕。啜茗合陶句,裛露掇其英。」
    末署「乾隆丙申春御題」款。「丙申」即乾隆四十一年(1776年)。蓋鈕及外底均有刀刻填金「乾隆年製」篆書款。

    與本例相同菊瓣式蓋盌可見於《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:清代漆器》,香港,2006年,頁215,編號164。另見倫敦維多利亞和阿爾伯特博物館館藏一例,由英國重要藏家哈利·加納爵士(Sir Harry Garner)捐贈,圖見加納著,《Chinese Lacquer》,倫敦,波士頓,頁150,圖版97。

    夾紵胎是用漆或漆灰將若干層布糊裱在一起,又稱「脫胎」。據載,乾隆四十年二月,皇帝命令蘇州織造按照發去的青白玉撇口盌樣款大小,照先做過的朱漆菊瓣盤做法一樣成做朱漆菊瓣蓋鐘一對,同年十一月做得送京後,交懋勤殿刻「乾隆年製」方款。次年《題朱漆菊花茶盃》寫成以後,再傳做菊瓣式鐘、盌則要求內底和蓋里務必刻詩,詩堂圓光做黑漆地刻字填金。

    詩中「裛露掇其英」引自「陶句」,即東晉詩人陶淵明《飲酒·其四》中,「秋菊有佳色,裛露掇其英」之詞句。晉陶淵明不為五斗米而折腰,辭官歸田,淡泊明志;其「採菊東籬下,悠然見南山」的逍遙適意,從此賦予了菊花貞潔隱逸的高尚品格。並因其開放在百花紛謝的秋季、清高不流俗之特性,與梅、蘭、竹合稱花中四君子。而在更早之前,菊花已被認為有清熱解毒、延年益壽之功效,體現在裝飾藝術中,菊花紋則像徵著長壽有徵、多子多福,成為乾隆後期極為常見的紋飾。如清宮舊藏一例清乾隆朱漆菊瓣式蓋盒,收錄於《故宮博物院藏文物珍品全集:清代漆器》,上海,2006年,頁216,編號165。

    乾隆皇帝對菊花紋的喜愛,或許也與明永樂一朝的菊花紋漆器有關。見清宮舊藏一例乾隆三十九年制脫胎朱漆菊瓣式盤,同樣髹朱漆,盤心刀刻填金隸書乾隆御製詩《詠仿永樂朱漆菊花盤》,顯然系仿照明永樂朱漆菊花盤製作而成;收錄於J.Ayers著,《Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen》,倫敦,2016年,卷三,頁848,編號1954。明成祖永樂帝(1403-1424)是中國歷史上最有作為的統治者之一,一生文治武功;永樂一朝的裝飾藝術,如瓷器、漆器等製作工藝也達到了新高度。而弘曆詩中「吳下髹工巧莫比,仿為或比舊還過」,說明其自信當時工藝水平已經超越前朝;既致敬前人,又微妙地自我抬高。據考證,乾隆三十八年以後,皇帝曾多次命令蘇州成做脫胎朱漆菊瓣式盤,用於宮廷陳設。脫胎朱漆菊瓣式蓋盌和菊瓣式盒就是在菊瓣式盤仿製成功後開發的新品種。

    參考一例與本例相同的清乾隆御製脫胎朱漆御題詩菊瓣式蓋盌,售於香港邦瀚斯,2013年11月24日,拍品編號342。
Contacts
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776 (2)
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776 (2)
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776 (2)
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE IMPERIAL RED LACQUER INSCRIBED CHRYSANTHEMUM-SHAPED BOWL AND COVER Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the inscription dated Spring 1776 (2)
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