YONGZHENG 1723 – 1735 Chinese Export Porcelain
A Rare Chinese Export Porcelain Famille Rose Teabowl and Saucer, Yongzheng Period 1723-1735.
- In excellent condition, some minor rubbing to the gilding.
- Diameter saucer : 10.5 cm (4 inches)
- Robert McPherson Antiques The John Drew Collection of Chinese and Japanese Ceramics. R & G McPherson Antiques (see `Sold Items` 19483). A Private English Collection of Chinese Ceramics.
- Stock number
This rare, well painted Famille Rose Porcelain teabowl and saucer is painted with a curious scene of a armoured Chinese solider riding a white elephant with an attendant in European dress.
Famille Rose Porcelain :
China`s ceramics industry has for thousands of years be connected to events in the world outside it`s own borders. Importing materials, assimilating foreign ideas, foreign tastes and inventions, as well as making ceramics for cultures completely foreign to it`s own tastes and ethos China has always adapted it`s ceramics industry to fit the needs of it clients who ever they may be. It was during the Qing dynasty, especially from the late 17th century, that the Chinese became especially interested in Western technology and science. Famille Rose enamels were developed as a consequence of this interaction, the Chinese referred to these enamel colours as foreign colours from as early as 1734 but there origin can be traced back to the 1720`s if not earlier. The impetus for the development of this new palette was the direct involvement emperor Kangxi (1662-1722) who desired to improve expertise in the manufacture of all crafts, especially in relation to learning about technology from abroad. Famille Rose enamels were different to the earlier Famille Verte enamels in a number of ways, the most obvious being the colours used, but the enamels themselves were different in that the translucent colours of the earlier palette were making way to thicker impasto opaque enamels of Famille Rose. The rose colour that gives its name to this colour scheme is created from colloidal gold (a suspension or colloid of sub-micrometre-sized particles of gold in a fluid). This ruby red colour was augmented by two other newly introduced coloured enamels, an opaque white which was made from fine crystals of lead arsenate, the other new colouring agent was lead stannate used for the opaque yellow. These colours, while new to China, were certainly not new to Europe but the effect of them on porcelain certainly was new. Famille Rose didn`t entirely replace Famille Verte as such but it certainly became far more popular. Famille Rose enamel was used in the Imperial workshops to paint some of the most complex intricate designs ever carried out on Chinese porcelain, it was also used for Chinese taste or domestic market porcelain, but was also used to decorate a vast array of Chinese export porcelain of all shapes and sizes.
Elephants / Xiang on Chinese Ceramics :
Although symbolically important the elephant is not commonly depicted on Chinese ceramics. When it is the depiction, unlike so many animals, it can look unreal and rather odd. Presumably this is because the ceramic artist would have been unfamiliar with an animal, their numbers became diminished and were limited to certain areas of the country. It is thought that China`s elephant population is only in the region of 300 today. The Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus) is sometimes depicted on Chinese ceramics as an animal with a rounded back and with lose fitting skin, but it can be shown as a powerful animal decked in rich cloth and carrying a vase on it`s back. Like so many other Chinese symbols the meaning it conveys is connected with the pronunciation of the word. Xiang (elephant) is a homonym for the word happiness. A rebus is formed when an elephant is depicted with a rider, usually a child, this conveys a `wish for happiness`. An elephant with a vase forms a rebus meaning `perfect peace in the universe`, this is expanded if there is a saddle cloth to mean `perfect peace and harmony in the universe`. The elephant is also closely connected with the Buddhist religion. An uncommon but interesting image of an elephant can be found on a few pieces of blue and white porcelain from the Transitional period. These scenes depict the Buddhist ritual of washing an elephant. For a Transitional blue and white brushpot dating to c.1640 with a version of this scene see : Late Ming, Chinese Porcelain from the Butler Family Collections (Exhibition catalogue, Sir Michael Butler, Musee National d`Histoire et d`Art Luxembourg 2008. ISBN 978-2-87985-029-0) page 125, plate 86. Another blue and white porcelain Transitional brushpot shows a boy with a brush cleaning the elephants back, see : Seventeenth-Century Blue and White Porcelain and Copper-Red and Their Predecessors (Exhibition Catalogue, S Marchant & Son, London, June 1997) page 53, plate 30.