From our Chinese Blue and White Collection, an unusually fine Qianlong Period (1736-1795) tureen base or shallow basin, depicting a river scene with a large fenced pagoda, a stone bridge, and several people on boats and pontoons, together with a meticulously intricate border of ruyi heads, cash diaper motifs, key frets, butterflies, and other marvelous details.
This piece is top quality in terms of "Nanking Ware" (not to be confused with Nanking Cargo Shipwreck pieces); it really gets no better than this. We have very high standards for purchasing Nanking, and generally avoid the subsequent 19th century evolutions of this genre, as there was obvious decline in the quality and intricacy of these pieces as you enter the later Jiaqing Period (1796-1820). But on this piece, the painting is extremely crisp and precise, the detail is unusually fine and elaborate, and the cobalt blue has that slight sapphire hue which is reminiscent of good Kangxi Period blues, all of which help date this piece to the early part of the Qianlong Period that closely followed after Kangxi.
If someone is just casually shopping for a Nanking piece for "the overall look," then there are many generally similar pieces out there that can be acquired at 1/2 to 2/3 the price of this piece. But if someone is looking for only the finest examples of early 18th century Nanking, this is one such piece.
Size and Condition: 14 1/2 inches wide, 11 1/2 inches tall, 2 1/2 inches deep. Only some very slight edge fritting commensurate with age, essentially perfect condition.