A large Chinese Tureen and Cover, Qianlong Period (1735-96)

The shape of this oval tureen and cover, with its swelling ogee curves, is based on a Western silver form, and it would have been made in the kilns at Jingdezhen for export to the European market. It is attractively painted in underglaze blue with a table of scholars’ items in a garden, surrounded by bamboo, chrysanthemums and grasses. To the left is a willow tree and a hollow rock from which issue peonies. The foot is encircled with a spearhead design. The cover has a wide border of prunus flowers on a ‘cracked ice’ ground, and four scrolls. The knop is of a rocaille form.

Condition: One handle is lacking, whilst the other handle retains only its terminal, the design of this remaining stump matching the rocaille knop. The famille rose tureen in the final image gives some indication of why the handles may have been damaged. Two small fragments of the body have been out and historically restuck. There are two cracks associated with this damage. Small patches of kiln grit adhere to the foot rim from manufacture. There is a minute loss to part of the knop. The bluish glaze has gathered in places, and the interior is dotted with pinholes from firing. Despite the damage, it is a handsome and weighty piece from circa 1740, and one which would have shown the wealth and status of the family who were originally served from it.

Dimensions: Length 26.7 cm (across the rim); Height 23 cm (to top of knop)

Chinese Export Ceramics, Rose Kerr and Luisa E. Mengoni (V&A Publishing, 2011).