The appointment by the Yongzheng emperor in the sixth year of his reign of Tang Ying as superintendent of the workshops of Jingdezhen is one of the most outstanding events in art history, paving the way for a total diversification of Chinese porcelain in terms of shapes, themes, colors, sizes, either imitating the antique or bringing some wonderful innovation.
The palette of colors becomes complete with the control of pink, happening around that time. This culmination of falangcai is the yangcai, often referred as famille rose. The yangcai invites the artists to express all the delicate shades of peach blossoms, a symbol of happy longevity, and to improve the velvety look of the ripe fruit.
On April 7 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells a pair of peach bowls, lot 112 estimated HK $ 40M. Each piece 13 cm in diameter is decorated with auspicious symbols. This pair with the mark of Yongzheng was probably made for the celebration of a birthday of the emperor himself. The six peaches and five bats on each bowl bring the most pleasant greetings to the emperor.
The branch with fruit, leaves and two shades of flowers begins at the base and extends over the entire inner surface without being interrupted through the rim of the bowl, offering a full size picture whatever the angle at which the piece is held.
This sensational feature meets a specific theme request by the emperor, recorded on the registers of the imperial workshops on the 19th day of the 4th month of the ninth year of Yongzheng, 1731 in our calendar. The long branch is named changzhi which is homophonic to the other meaning of Eternal Governance.
Yongzheng died four years later. The pair of Yongzheng yangcai changzhi bowls for sale by Sotheby's is extremely rare, as only five other pairs and a single bowl are recorded. Two of the five pairs are separated.