On April 7 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells a boys vase, lot 3616 estimated HK $ 50M. This piece 44 cm high is by itself an anthology of Qing porcelains, with the exception that it is not reticulated.
The shape is complex but perfectly balanced with its ovoid body between a neck and a base each made in four curved panels separated by sharp corners.
The neck and base are finished with a sea green celadon glaze that is one of the most exquisite colors in Chinese taste and one of the most difficult glazes to obtain. The celadon pieces were welcomed as a support for high or low relief carvings that remind to the modern observer that the pleasure of touch is a characteristic of the best Chinese porcelains.
The ovoid body is covered in underglazed cobalt blue with vegetal patterns, over which were inserted four large pictures in the famille rose enamels which were the best palette of Chinese porcelains. Gilding is also widely used, for the imperial mark under the base, for framing the images and for the two dragon handles.
The pictures are on the theme of young boys at play. Although the vase can not be dated, note that Qianlong emperor had promoted during the eighth year of his reign, 1743 in our calendar, a variety of narrative themes for use during the festivals, thus breaking with a tradition that had been essentially decorative after the Yuan.