Famille rose foliated bowl and saucer
early 18th century
Yongzheng period, Qing dynasty
Porcelain with famille rose enamels
L: 11.5 cm W: 10.6 cm (saucer) L: 7.1 cm W: 6.5 cm H: 4.6 cm (bowl)
Ex collection, New England regional museum
This set is quite representative of the Yongzheng era. Famille rose enameling was still in its early stages during the early 18th century, spurred by the development of opaque enamels during the preceding Kangxi reign. As seen on this bowl and saucer, the purple and blue enamels are pure, vibrant, but rather thickly lumpy, which is characteristic of this period. The pinks are also the typical pale Yongzheng shade.
What I like most about this tea set is the shape and artistic execution. The design represents well the elegance of Yongzheng aesthetics in its harmonious simplicity. However, the flora is rendered with a deep sense of motion that would disappear all together from most 19th century pieces. Additionally, the shape may have been inspired by foliated Song monochromes. The Yongzheng emperor certainly favored Song aesthetics, and the period enjoyed a revival of Song glazes and shapes.
Please also note that both the bowl and saucer are marked, rather permanently, with a museum collection number (though the number on the back of the saucer is beginning to wear off.) I don't however see this as a blemish—but rather a testament to its historical and aesthetic merit.
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