On April 3 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells an altar jar 26 cm high, lot 3428 estimated HK $ 20M. It wears quite discreetly the Buddhist symbols and its form is of Tibetan ritual inspiration. The decoration of the ovoid body is centered in its circumference by six lotuses of various designs on a turquoise background. The colors are many and bright with a naturalism rare at this time in flowers and leaves.
The wire partitioning is entangled and tight. On the shoulder frieze the use of four color combinations on identical patterns is an additional refinement.
A piece of this quality is extremely rare but an almost identical example is known. The stabilizing heating of the enamels was certainly extremely difficult. They were made during Yongle or Xuande reigns. Both emperors were closely linked to Buddhism.
On April 20, 2017 another similar piece with some misses and wears was sold for $ 810K including premium by Quinn's from an estimate of 400 to 600 dollars. It was dated 18th or 19th century in the post sale release published by Artnet.
Until the falangcai of the Qing nearly three centuries later, such variety and beauty of colors will remain impossible to obtain on porcelains. This probably explains the craze for cloisonné during the short and eventful reign of the Jingtai emperor, second son and second successor to Xuande. From that reign the decoration had become more stylized.
SOLD for HK$ 21.7M including premium