Painter on silk, Castiglione had managed to please these three demanding emperors by adding to the traditional Chinese graphic style some elements of great naturalistic details. The Qianlong vase with pheasants in the nest from the Meiyintang collection is a very good example. It was sold for HK $ 200M in post sale by Sotheby's on April 7, 2011.
On October 3 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells as lot 1 a Qianlong falangcai bowl 11.8 cm in diameter decorated with poppies. The August 30 press release tells that it is expected above HK $ 200M. Please watch here below the video shared by the auction house.
Directly inspired by the art of Castiglione, this bowl shows on its outer wall poppy blossoms of various colors on long stems bent in all directions by the wind. Like the nest of pheasants, this scene is anchored on a rocky ground. The curved shape and the turned-over rim provide a three-dimensional effect to this drawing that rises to the top of the piece. The interior of the bowl is decorated with fruits of abondance and the imperial mark is in blue enamel.
Qianlong loved literary quotes. The high collar of the pheasant vase is decorated with a poem. Likewise a fourteen-character poem adorns the back side of the poppy bowl at the top of an otherwise blank area.
This poem from the Ming period is directly related to the theme of the bowl. One of the names of the poppy in Chinese is Yu meiren, the Beautiful Yu, in memory of the concubine of an emperor usurper against the Han. When defeat became inevitable, Lady Yu executed for her emperor a languid song while dancing around a sword on which she then pierced herself.
SOLD for HK$ 170M including premium