|Yongzheng Famille Rose Garlic Head Vase (YFM121320)|
1722 – 1735
Yongzheng Period, Qing Dynasty
Porcelain with overglaze famille rose enamels
Height: 28.5 cm / 11.2 in
From a Porto, Portugal estate
An elegant and outstanding Yongzheng period famille rose ‘garlic head’ vase, painted with interlocked and climbing sprigs of magnolia and peach blossom flowers. The execution of the decoration is masterful and painterly, exhibiting a naturalistic and rhythmic hand so characteristic of the Yongzheng period. Although this piece was made by the private minyao kilns, its design and imagery was likely borrowed from similar Yongzheng period imperial vases.
The Yongzheng period saw the emergence of famille rose porcelains, which marked a break from the more bold Kangxi wucai. Aptly termed “ruan cai” (soft colors) or “yang cai” (foreign colors), famille rose enamels attained its opaque and gentle quality from the application of lead arsenate as a base–a technique probably introduced by European Jesuits working in Beijing’s Imperial workshops.To this day, the best famille rose wares remain those made in the beginning, during the 1720s-30s; following the Yongzheng period, never again did Chinese enamels attain such purity and tenderness of color. This particular piece belongs to a classic group of Yongzheng famille rose wares–that is, those carefully enameled against a plain porcelain body. Although rather simple in composition, this vase represents the height of Yongzheng taste: supreme elegance is achieved by leaving the background plain white, without the distraction of borders or other stylized motifs.