Only Chinese version is available
Painted enamel vase in double gourd shape with bird and flower design in reserved panels
Qianlong period (1736 – 1795), Qing dynasty
Enamel (Painted enamel)
H 56.5 cm Dia 33 cm
The use of enamel was introduced to China in the Ming dynasty and was applied to vessels of metal, ceramics and glass. This last technique was brought to China by sea from Europe in the early Qing dynasty and was first learned and reproduced by the Cantonese. A layer of opaque enamel has first to be applied onto the copper vessel before firing to achieve a smooth surface. Next, coloured enamels are painted over the enamelled surface, before the vessel is fired a second time to complete the production process.
In the shape of a double gourd with a lobed, copper body, this vase is painted in polychrome enamels with a wash technique on a stippled yellow ground. The body is decorated with double gourds, vines (symbolic of the wish for many sons), grass scrolls, white plum blossom, leaves, butterflies and grasshoppers. Two reserved panels on the lobed belly are decorated with blossoming apple branches and birds and butterflies on a sky blue background. The unusually large size, the superb quality of the painting and the bright colours mark this vase out as one of the finest works in painted enamel.
—Collection of Hong Kong Museum of Art