A large and rare pair of faceted Chinese cloisonné moonflasks, end of the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) / beginning of the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820).
The center with two reserved medallions with a tiger facing a dragon flying in the sky on one side and phoenixes on the other with the sign meaning in Chinese "Sun". The sides decorated with many auspicious and precious or Buddhist objects as well as Taoist symbols with butterflies and grasshoppers on a background pattern of cracked ice. The collar flanked by two dragons or qilongs facing each other in gilded bronze with a later addition in the 19th century of elephant heads probably made in France by the famous bronzier Barbedienne.
This massive and large pair of bianhu (moon-shaped vase) gourds is very rare because cloisonné enamelled moonflasks were produced on a reduced scale and are usually only found by one.
The latter are also distinguished by their impressive size and their unusual 8-sided polygonal shape. This octagonal shape is attested to represent the moon in ancient China (see in particular a pair of so-called lunar hares in turquoise porcelain and aubergine glaze from the reign of Kangxi (1662-1722), with a moon on the back in an octagonal shape: http://www.alaintruong.com/archives/2016/01/01/33145575.html). For their shape again, these gourds can also be compared to an extremely rare and imperial Bianhu porcelain moonflask with sides dating from the Yongzheng period (1723-1735), sold at Christie's on December 26, 2018 (https: //www.christies. com / in / lot / lot-5379696).
In general, the bianhu gourds are always of an impressive size as is the case here with the present pair, this shape being to be attached to the productions of the Qing dynasty of sumptuous and large objects to decorate the imperial palaces or the residences of high ranked officials.
The quality of the enamels divided by walls richly gilded with gold as well as the background with a pattern of cracked ice are now typical of the best cloisonnés productions of the 18th century of the reign of Qianlong, while the decoration of the medallions announces the new taste. emerging from the 19th century with the use in particular of a white background and less academic motifs such as a bold and dramatic painting of a tiger and a dragon together with the more classical and expected imperial pattern of two flying phoenixes (the symbols of the empress and empress dowager).
This mixed aesthetic therefore attests to a dating at the very end of the 18th century during the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820).
Some old areas of wax filling are to be noticed and the bases are missing now because they were fixed on wooden supports but the enamels are preserved otherwise in a very good state of freshness.
There is no other equivalent in auction records, private collections, or museums for such a large pair of mid-Qing dynasty bianhu moonflasks in cloisonné enamels.
3 000 €
1 900 €
1 000 €