Painted enamel wine pot
Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1736 - 1795
A Canton enamel wine pot of quatrefoil shape with a domed cover, short curved spout and a high loop handle. The sides are painted in detail with three sinuous dragons pursuing flaming pearls amongst cloud scrolls and above crested waves, all reserved on a cobalt blue ground. The pink-painted collar is surrounded by a yelIow-ground flat rim with flower heads. The handle has cartouches of ‘broken ice’ alternating with panels of scrolls on red and blue grounds.
Chinese craftsmen owed their first acquaintance with the technique of painted enamels to French missionaries of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, who brought with them examples of the famous Limoges enamels. The earliest Chinese enamels were modelled on these examples. Most Chinese painted enamels come from Canton, but in the early 18th century they were also produced at Beijing workshops, catering to the discerning taste of the Court. This beautifully painted example compares closely to a painted enamel wine pot similar in size and with dragons amongst waves on the body and floral patterns on the lid and the shoulders, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York where it is dated to the Qianlong period (see fig.1) .1 Other comparable painted enamel wine pots of similar shape, form and with various decorations representing landscapes or European figures, are in the Hermitage collection, St Petersburg.2
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art online collection archive, accession number: 24.80.479 a, b
- Arapova,T. Kitaïskie raspisnye emaili: sobranie Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha (Chinese painted enamels in the Hermitage collection), “lskusstvo”, Moskvo, 1988, nos. 185, 186, 192