The Qing artist has the choice between several decoration techniques : doucai, wucai, fencai. Doucai brings an additional difficulty. The blue is made in its final outline before making the glaze on which the enamels of the other colors will then be applied. The porosity of the raw material must be compatible with the desired fineness of the drawing. An asymmetry created by the first heating damages a doucai figure irreparably.
On May 30 in Hong Kong, Christie's sells a 54 cm high doucai tianqiuping that is close to technological limits beyond which imperfections of shape are inevitable. It is estimated HK $ 70M, lot 8888. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
This vase bearing the imperial mark of Qianlong is decorated with the emblems of the eight immortals of Taoism. This theme is rare for this emperor who preferred Buddhism. The recording in the imperial archives during the third year of the reign (1738 CE) of a tiangqiuping in wucai of similar illustration may be a post quem terminus.
Considered separately, all these elements are in the taste of Yongzheng. The death of this emperor did not stop the imperial incitement to the potters in Jingdezhen to perform the technical feats of the highest virtuosity. The script of the imperial mark of Qianlong is a model in use according to some experts between the 7th and the 35th year of the reign. A date around the 1740s CE appears plausible.
For similar auspices, peaches, another symbol of immortality, are a favorite theme for a tianqiuping throughout the reigns of Yongzheng and Qianlong. Two 51 cm and 55 cm high Qianlong yangcai vases without an estimate of date within his 60 year long reign were sold by Sotheby's : HK $ 90M including premium on October 5, 2011 and HK $ 63M including premium on October 7, 2015.
SOLD for HK$ 130M including premium