|Yongzheng Famille Rose ‘Beauty’ Vase (YFM031726)
Yongzheng period, Qing dynasty
Porcelain with overglaze famille rose enamels; Jingdezhen ware
Height: 43.8 cm (17.2 in)
Width (at widest point): 19.7 cm (7.75 in)
From a Manhattan, New York metropolitan area estate
An elegant early 18th century Yongzheng famille rose vase, of white-glazed classic rouleau shape with prominent shoulders and a tapered cylindrical body, painted with a lady reclining in a luohan bed, letter clutched in hand and posture contemplative. Various furniture, decorative items, and books occupy the scene, while two cats play at her feet. Two attending boys or sons hover near her bed. The painting workmanship is assured and full of the relaxed gracefulness characteristic of Yongzheng enamelware.
Portrayals of beautiful women in domestic quarters have long been a favorite genre in Chinese art. These types of genre painting typically feature women reclining or seated in a garden or interior space, pursuing refined leisurely activities (such as reading, playing the zither, playing a game of weiqi, or admiring antiques) while pets and children surround her. These images not only define the ideal Chinese woman—but also the ideal context and space for the ideal Chinese woman.
The Yongzheng Emperor himself famously commissioned a set of 12 paintings (Twelve Beauties at Leisure), featuring various beautiful women in the domestic sphere. The paintings were set into screens and displayed in the Deep Willows Reading Hall, a study within his private quarters at the Summer Palace.
Condition: In great antique condition. There are some wear and loss to the enamels. The porcelain body itself is in perfect condition. [Please examine all photos carefully; they are part of the condition report.]