Around 1741 CE, to please the Qianlong emperor, Tang Ying transferred to the yangcai the ancient technique of sgraffito. Fine scratches are made with a needle to reveal the white glaze under the enamelled ground. In a tight pattern this figure mimics the texture of a silk brocade.
The Qianlong emperor appreciated everything about art, including European aesthetics. A pair of vases 21.7 cm high is decorated in reserves with the same figures of flowers and foliage. The ground layer is incised by a sgraffito of arabesques. The decorative taste mixes traditional China and rococo.
This pair has an exceptional feature : the ground does not have the same color. One of them, in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, is bright blue. Its companion piece is ruby red. The red vase is estimated HK $ 40M for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on April 3, lot 3622. Another difference is the color of the collar rim, red for the blue vase and gold for the red vase.
SOLD for HK$ 50M including premium