A rare porcelain and 5-color "wucai" enamel ewer in the Duomuhu shape, Kangxi period (1662-1722).
This ewer borrows its form from unusual copper-plated metal ewers, the Duomuhu ewers, used in ancient Tibet to preserve Yak's milk, which was added to the tea that Tibetan Buddhist monks consumed in large quantities to be able to endure the long hours of prayers.
During the reign of Kangxi (1662-1722), the second Qing emperor from the Manchu minority, an ethnic group that had embraced Tibetan Buddhism, such ewers were made for decorative purposes, in various materials and not just metal : in zitan wood, in cloisonné enamels and even in lacquer. The Duomuhu porcelain ewers are among the rarest, along with those in lacquer and zitan, to have been inspired by this form with a strong spiritual Buddhist connotation.
Note the use of the 5-color "wucai" palette which indicates a production quite early in the reign of Kangxi since it still depends on a demanding polychromy technique (the underglaze blue fired first at high heat then the rest of the colorful enamels on glaze fired with a muffle fire). The wucai technique was rather in use, moreover, under the Ming dynasty and the emperors of the Transitional period, in particular under the Shunzhi emperor (1644-1661), the father of Kangxi.
The motif of this ewer made of bright and joyful colors aims here to occupy as much as possible the available surface, again in an aesthetic still very close to the Ming (one could think in particular of the "wucai" porcelain manufactured under the reign of Wanli (1573-1620) ). The surface is crowded with an omnipresent decoration of peonies which make up a dominant red (happiness) very popular in ancient China, in addition, this flower symbolizes the combination "wealth-honor-power".
In addition we can see multicolored lanterns similar to the abstract brocade patterns that we could again meet on the Kraak of the Wanli period. These round or square lanterns are also lucky elements because they evoke the Lantern Festival which closes the Chinese New Year celebrations in China. Finally, there are two of the literati's "8 precious objects", namely the painting (a diamond) and the wrapped pearl.
This combination of very auspicious signs are objects of good luck used for porcelain intended for domestic use and more specifically mandarin: it is therefore obviously for a scholar keen on Buddhism that this unusual and rare ewer from the early 18th century was intended.
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