A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4)
Lot 12
A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots
Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period
Sold for HK$ 12,640,000 (US$ 1,619,623) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Property of a Gentleman 紳士藏品
A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4) A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period (4)
A pair of exceptionally rare Imperial doucai waterpots
Yongzheng six-character marks and of the period
Each gracefully potted with gently curving sides, the exterior delicately outlined in subtle underglaze-blue with vaporous swirling clouds encircling the base and rising towards the top, exquisitely enamelled in soft tones of yellow, aubergine, dark and light green, with some of the edges picked out in iron-red, the interior and base covered with a transparent glaze, the base with a six-character kaishu mark in underglaze-blue, wood stands.
Each: 5.3cm (2 1/8in) high (4).

Footnotes

  • 清雍正 鬥彩祥雲紋馬蹄式水丞一對 青花「大清雍正年製」楷書款

    Provenance:
    The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1991
    The Jingguantang Collection
    Christie's Hong Kong, 3 November 1998, lot 956
    The Gerald M. Greenwald Collection, collection no.88
    Christie's Hong Kong, For Imperial Appreciation: Fine Chinese Ceramics from the Greenwald Collection, 1 December 2010, lot 2816
    An important Asian private collection

    Published and Illustrated:
    Min Chiu Society, Catalogue of the 7th Annual Exhibition of Porcelain of Ch'ing Dynasty. K'ang-hsi, Yung-cheng and Ch'ien-lung Periods (From 1662 to 1795AD), Hong Kong, 1968, no.57
    Min Chiu Society, An Anthology of Chinese Ceramics, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1980, no.144
    The Tsui Museum of Art, The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1991, pl.112
    Chinese Ceramics. Vol.IV, The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1995, pl.131

    來源:
    香港徐氏藝術館,1991年
    靜觀堂舊藏
    香港佳士得,1998年11月3日,拍品956
    葛沃得舊藏,編號88
    香港佳士得,「曄兮如華-葛沃得珍藏御製瓷器」專拍,2010年12月1日,拍品2816
    重要亞洲私人收藏

    出版與著錄:
    《香港敏求精舍笫七屆展覽:清代康熙、雍正、乾隆瓷器》,香港,1968年,編號57
    敏求精舍著,《中國陶瓷雅集》,香港,1980年,編號144
    《徐氏藝術館》,徐氏藝術館,香港,1991年,圖版112
    《徐氏藝術館:陶瓷篇IV·清代》,徐氏藝術館,香港,1995年,圖版131

    The present pair of doucai waterpots is exceptionally rare and aesthetically pleasing. Only four other examples appear to have been published as follows: a single waterpot, from the Qing Court Collection, is illustrated in Small Refined Articles of the Study. The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Shanghai, 2009, p.223, no.221; another single example, possibly the pair to the Palace Museum, Beijing example, is in the collection of the Nanjing Museum, illustrated in Treasures in the Royalty: The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p.178 (it is interesting to note that these presumed pair of waterpots both have seemingly lighter shades of enamels and do not have red enamel highlights); and a pair of waterpots, previously in the collections of C.T.Loo, Paris, Paul and Helen Bernat, Boston, and the Shimentang collection, was sold by Eskenazi Ltd., illustrated in the catalogue Qing Porcelain from a Private Collection, London, 2012, no.3.

    The Yongzheng emperor who practiced a balanced combination of Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism, became in later life increasingly involved in Daoist matters related to the 'elixir of immortality', even bestowing upon a high official the pill of longevity. However, on 8 October 1735 he passed away, possibly as a result of consuming toxic materials contained in the 'elixir of immortality'. The Imperial pursuit of longevity and consumption of 'elixirs of immortality' is said to also have been practiced by Qinshi Huangdi (260-210 BC), China's first emperor, and by the Ming emperor Jiajing (1522-1566). In all three cases, this pursuit proved ineffective.

    The power of granting the 'elixir of immortality' is attributed to the divine Daoist deity Xiwangmu, Queen Mother of the West, in whose garden, said to be hidden by high clouds in the Kunlun mountains, grow the peaches of immortality, ripening once every 3,000 years. One of the paintings in the Album of the Yongzheng Emperor in Costumes from the Palace Museum, Beijing, shows the emperor wearing a multi-coloured robe, reminiscent in colour scheme of the present pair of waterpots, offering a peach of immortality to a monkey; see E.S.Rawski and J.Rawson, eds., China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795, London, 2005, pp.167-168.

    The wispy lingzhi-shaped five-coloured clouds, 'wuse yun' (五色雲) or 'qing yun' (慶雲), depicted on the present lot, represent the emperor's wish for longevity. The motif can be further interpreted as a pun on the word 'cloud', yun (雲), which is a homophone for fuyun (福運), 'good fortune'. In an agricultural society, the rain-bearing clouds would have been perceived as a benevolent omen, for the necessary irrigation of the crops.

    It is interesting to note that the Yongzheng emperor seemed to have a particular fondness for the physical as well as symbolic appearance of qing yun between the 7th and the 10th year of his reign (1729 – 1732). Scenes of auspicious five-coloured clouds appearing above the sky were recorded several times in the Palace memorials presented to the emperor. The Imperial archives also recorded that paintings depicting such particular type of clouds were ordered by the Yongzheng emperor in 1730, see Lin Lina, 'Auspicious symbols and scenes of the Yongzheng period', in Feng Mingzhu, Harmony and Integrity: The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times, Taipei, 2009, pp.374 – 399.

    The Yongzheng emperor's fondness for this decoration is evident in the number of extant Imperial works of art, similarly decorated with multi-coloured clouds, including the carved wooden plaque inlaid with painted enamel wispy clouds and the inscription reading 'Heed Rashness and Use Perseverance'; a painted enamel snuff bottle, Yongzheng mark and period; a painted enamel tiered box and cover, Yongzheng mark and period; and a stand with a hanging fish pendant, depicted in 'Yinzhen's [Yongzheng's] Amusements: Copying a Sutra in a Studio', illustrated in the National Palace Museum, Taipei exhibition catalogue by Feng Mingzhu, ibid., Taipei, 2009, pp.20, 116-117, 258 and 269. See also a doucai bottle vase, Yongzheng mark and period, similarly decorated with cloud scrolls, which was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2010, lot 1862.

    The above examples illustrate the emperor's use of this highly particular stylised motif with which he personally identified and for decorating objects for his personal use. It is therefore not surprising that the same auspicious motif was also employed on one of the essential literati paraphernalia, especially made for the Imperial 'scholar's desk'. The very small number of extant doucai waterpots of this particular design indicates their exclusive Imperial use.

    The use of this motif on a waterpot, though in a more refined and colourful palette, also presented a continuation of related waterpots made during the reign of his father, the Kangxi emperor. Such vessels were of more conical form, with carved wispy cloud scrolls, covered in white or celadon glaze; for a white-glazed example, Kangxi mark and period, see Wang Qingzheng, Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl.227; and for a celadon-glazed example, Kangxi mark and period, from the Nanjing Museum, see Treasures in the Royalty: The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p.107. However, the combined use of the doucai palette and lingzhi-shaped cloud scroll decoration was inspired by bowls from the Chenghua period; for Chenghua examples from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, see Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Ch'eng-hua Porcelain Ware, 1465-1487, Taipei, 2003, pp.153-155 and p.156 for a Wanli example, nos.143-150.

    The Yongzheng emperor personally influenced the artistic direction of the Imperial kiln production, achieving together with the celebrated kiln supervisor Tang Ying an unsurpassed standard of quality, aesthetic subtlety and refinement by merging his admiration both of classic styles of the past and of contemporary innovation. His interest in antiques, scholarly objects and curios, and arguably his wish to be identified as a cultivated literatus, is demonstrated in the scroll painting titled Guwan tu (古玩圖) or 'Record of Ancient Playthings', dated 1729, illustrated by Rawski and Rawson, ibid., pp.252-255; as well as in a number of paintings depicting him beside a scholar's desk, see Feng Minzhu, ibid., pp.115 and 117. The present pair of waterpots therefore, represents an outstanding example of the highest level of Imperial porcelain production and innovation at its zenith, realised during the Yongzheng period.

    水丞馬蹄式,斂口,斜腹漸豐,廣平底內凹,淺圈足,足底青花雙圈楷書款。外壁飾鬥彩慶雲紋,雲頭捲曲,釉色淡雅,精巧別緻。

    雍正一朝,雖為時僅三十年,製瓷工藝卻已達另一高峰。鬥彩始於明代,至清代一朝,尤為雍正鬥彩最具代表性。此對鬥彩水丞,宗奉成化鬥彩為原型,釉色清麗雅緻,施彩薄而淺淡,紅色油潤,綠色似水般瑩亮明澈,黃色淡雅清新,實為難得珍貴佳品。現存已知的雍正鬥彩馬蹄式水丞為數極少,成對者更是鳳毛麟角,目前僅見北京故宮博物院有一例,參看《故宮博物院藏文物珍品大系:文玩》,上海,2009年,頁223,圖211;南京博物院藏有另外一例,見《宮廷珍藏中國清代官窯瓷器》,上海,2003年,頁178;成對者唯見一例,先後由巴黎盧芹齋、波士頓百納德夫婦、英國石門堂收藏,最後由英國古董商埃斯肯納茨售出,著錄於《Qing Porcelain from a Private Collection》,倫敦,2012年,圖3。

    雍正帝以儒、佛、道三教並重,主張以佛治心,以道治身、以儒治世的統治思想,清代帝王中,唯雍正帝最崇奉道教。據清宮檔案記載,雍正帝在太和殿、乾清宮等主要宮殿均安放道神符板,並在寢宮養心殿設斗壇,甚至在御花園建屋供道士居住。他不但頻繁參與道教活動,並召道士入宮於圓明園建爐煉丹,還加大了自己丹藥服用的劑量,與秦始皇、漢武帝以及明代嘉靖等前朝帝王類似,意求道神保護,以得長生不老之身。雍正帝對道家寧靜、神遊的追求在諸多宮廷藝術中都有表現,如北京故宮博物院藏「清代胤禎行樂圖」中既有雍正身著道裝或是手持蟠桃的形象,見E.S.Rawski及J.Rawson編,《China: The Three Emperors 1662-1795》,倫敦,2005年,頁167-168。

    陰陽五色、姿彩各異的雲氣稱為「五色祥雲」,又名「慶雲」,在雍正年間官員呈報之奏摺以及皇帝之批覆中多有提及。而雍正帝將此天文異像視為瑞祥之徵兆,代表孝德豐稔之瑞應。如雍正六年十月二十九日,三省總督額爾泰及雲南總兵官張應宗呈報五華山五色慶雲疊現:「文武官員等,在五華山朝賀,畢。坐班至辰刻,共覩五色慶雲,光燦捧日。......齊祝萬壽無疆」雍正閱後批覆:「況此嘉祥,實係卿忠誠所感,而獻於朕壽日者,正表卿愛戴之心也。」有關雍正年間之祥瑞符應更多的討論,可見林莉娜,「雍正朝之祥瑞符應」,於《雍正:清世宗文物大展》,台北,2009年,頁374-399。雍正早期的宮廷繪畫中,也經常有對慶雲疊現的描繪,郎世寧繪「海天旭日圖」以及宮廷畫師金昆繪「有鳥詩意圖」冊,可能均是描繪雍正七年鄧州、蓬萊的慶雲現象。而相傳東海蓬萊、方丈、瀛洲三座仙山上有長生不老之藥,秦始皇、漢武帝皆為尋求仙丹先後派人來此,這正符合雍正帝崇奉道法之意。

    雍正帝對五彩祥雲紋的喜愛還表現在其他宮廷藝術品上,現大多藏於台北國立故宮博物院:如一件清雍正木雕嵌琺瑯片「戒急用忍」掛屏,表面刻滿祥雲紋,並嵌以畫琺瑯雲紋片;一件清雍正銅胎畫琺瑯黑地五彩流雲玉兔秋香鼻煙壺;一件清雍正銅胎畫琺瑯黑地五彩雲紋穿帶盒;另見北京故宮藏「胤禎行樂圖之書齋寫經圖」中所繪一件黑漆螺鈿玉魚吊架,亦有類似的五彩祥雲紋,見《雍正:清世宗文物大展》,台北,2009年,頁20,116-117,258及269。另見香港蘇富比售出一件清雍正鬥彩祥雲紋瓶,2010年4月8日,編號1862。

    諸如此類之宮廷遺珍,由於大多為皇帝親自使用,其紋飾特徵往往與皇帝個人審美以及藝術追求有直接影響。而此對水丞作為宮廷文房用具,更與一朝之主平日批閱政務或讀書寫經有著密切的關係,其紋飾設計及定奪無不透露出雍正帝當時對藝術的審美觀。

    雍正帝的藝術審美觀在某些程度上亦有可能受其父皇康熙帝影響,如上海博物館藏一件清康熙白釉刻花雲紋水丞,見汪慶正,《上海博物館藏康熙瓷器圖錄》,香港,1998年,圖227;另有冬青釉一例,現藏於南京博物院,著錄於《宮廷珍藏中國清代官窯瓷器》,上海,2003年,圖107,而鬥彩者在康熙一朝並未有所見。此類如意雲頭紋飾,在明代成化朝鬥彩中或已有原型,見台北國立故宮博物院藏成化鬥彩花卉圖案雲盌,著錄於《成化瓷器特展圖錄》,台北,2003年,頁153-155,以及頁156萬曆朝一例。

    雍正一朝對製瓷風氣之嚴肅認真為後朝所不能及,這與雍正帝本人對瓷器的喜愛有很大關係。他委任年希堯、唐英等得力督陶官佐理御窯廠,集中最優秀的工匠,並且親自對一些官窯的器形、圖案、品種進行御批審定和御出新樣,將自己對藝術的審美通過宮廷瓷器表現出來。雍正繼位前後的宮廷生活豐富多樣、品位高雅,不論是雍正六年所作「古玩圖」、亦或是現存北京故宮博物院的「胤禎行樂圖」,都將雍正帝對藝術的高雅情懷表現得淋漓盡致。此對鬥彩水丞無疑是雍正帝寄情藝術、博古賞新的又一例證。
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