A Chinese vase with Famille verte enamel decoration ("yingcai", in Chinese: "bright colors") of three scholars in a garden, Kangxi period (1662-1722). The base formerly pierced in the center for electrification, an oblique crack all over the neck and the neck ground. Enamels of great purity, a very rare and sought-after model. Wooden base.
The refined and elegant shape of this ovoid vase which flares out through a small neck has been decorated all over the surface, without the use of reserves, in the so-called "Chinese" manner.
As for the motif, it is the simple but very realistic full-size painting of two important mandarins (see their clothes) who respectfully come with a handscroll painting in hand to meet an old hermit holding a ruyi scepter in a garden planted with plantains, a tree symbolizing in Buddhism the distance from the world of the Court (reference in loop to the hermit, ideal of the old scholar relieved of his duties as an official).
Bamboos, traced in black ink on the register of the small collar - symbolic plant of the scholar and frequent subject of Chinese paintings in black ink on paper or on silk - complete this auspicious ensemble linked to the art of calligraphy. and painting against a background in praise of the hermit life in Nature.
We can suppose that these two scholars, obviously of a certain rank, come to submit to this old scholar and hermit friend the painting they have composed, to have his approval or his stamp, then to initiate a long discussion around a tea on painting and poetry, the ideal - or idealized - occupation of the mandarins when they did not fulfill their duties as officials for the Court.
Under Kangxi reign, in the 18th century, this theme of withdrawal from the business world and the intrigues of the Court in favor of literary or artistic activities is omnipresent in art and in particular in ceramics: it does not only express a desire of the mandarins overwhelmed by their duties as imperial officials, it is also a subtle aspect of the propaganda wanted by Emperor Kangxi, who has just pacified the Chinese Empire at the end of long and exhausting wars. It was indeed these evocations of bucolic recreation to encourage scholars to seek natural and harmless distractions, and to turn their backs for good on the spirit of sling which had undermined the previous Ming dynasty.
This set of elements characterizes a very refined article produced for the specifically Chinese market and intended for a member of the Mandarin elite who had undoubtedly commissioned this beautiful literate object to adorn his desk and arouse a meditation conducive to the calligraphic or painting exercise. In spite of its only fair condition, it is a very rare and beautiful scholar article of the Kangxi period.