An Extremely Rare Famille-Rose ‘Trompe L’oeil’ Double Gourd Vase.

Description: This resplendent double gourd vase, in the exquisite Qianlong style, dazzles with its vibrant enamel work. It showcases a splendid bouquet of diverse flowers set against a gilt ground, where slender chilong dragons gracefully frolic among the blooming flora. Adorned with a beribboned pink sash, elegantly tied at its heart, finely adorned with intricate stylized flowering scrolls. All of this rests upon a coral-hued base, cleverly shaped as ruyi heads.

The palette employed here, known as “yangcai” or ‘foreign colors,’ was a preference of the Qianlong Emperor. It took inspiration from European enamels introduced to the Qing court by skilled Jesuit artisans.

This vase faithfully echoes the Qianlong originals, as the Emperor had a penchant for objects that mimicked different materials. The intricately painted knotted cloth is reminiscent of Japanese “furoshiki” packaging traditions, drawing from Japanese artistry, particularly evident in lacquerware. The concept of textile wrapping around the vessel is a recurring motif found in various imperial workshops under the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. It can be observed not only in porcelain but also in metal-bodied wares adorned with painted enamels, cloisonné, glass, and lacquer or wood items. However, these creations are exceptionally rare and highly sought after.

Size: Approx 27cm high

Age: Late 19thc – Early 20thc

Price: £2950 (This is a rare and very desirable vase)

Condition: Usual wear consummate with age. Base drilled through what was probably an apocryphal Qianlong mark.  (Reflected in the lower asking price). See pics below.

Further Reading: See the following links