The details of the process were developed during the last years of Kangxi by the potters of Jingdezhen and Beijing to the direct service of the imperial court. Some pieces appear unique in their combination of shape, size, themes and colors, suggesting an experimental phase.
On November 30 in Hong Kong, Christie's sells a cup 6.3 cm in diameter, lot 3218 estimated HK $ 40M. It bears the imperial mark of Yongzheng but several characteristics allow to date it more precisely in the Kangxi-Yongzheng transition, around 1722 of our calendar.
Its footless cup shape was more popular under Kangxi and became rare with Yongzheng. It is decorated with auspicious themes within a ruby red ground that was already in use under Kangxi. The aesthetic quality of the winding of the blossoming branch of plum throughout the perimeter is more linked with Yongzheng's requirements for a supreme exquisiteness.
The powder for making the red ground was blown by the potter in a bamboo tube through a gauze while the decoration previously painted on the glaze was preserved in reserves. The joint achievement of a perfect homogeneity of the ground and a great sharpness in the outlines of the reserves is a feat requiring the total control of the breath during the blowing.
In the development of Qing porcelain, this cup may be compared with a bowl bearing the imperial mark of Kangxi, sold for HK $ 74M including premium by Sotheby's on April 8, 2013. This unique piece was decorated with lotus on a ruby ground.
SOLD for HK$ 35M before fees