At over four million euros, this lantern vase attests to the vogue for Chinese imperial pieces, which is not expected to abate any time soon.
China, Qianlong period (1736-1795), lantern vase, called deng long zun, polychrome and gold enamelled porcelain from the pink fencai family, Qianlong’s six-character mark in iron-red in zhuanshu under the base, h. 47.7cm, with base 55 cm, dia.19 cm.
The 'Eight Immortals' painted in fencai polychrome enamels could give free rein to their libations, as if, as true Taoist sages, they had always known they had been drinking from the belly of this lantern-shaped vase for nearly three centuries, waiting for the ultimate consecration. In these uncertain times, the certainty of the success of Chinese imperial pieces, especially those dating from the reign of Qianlong (1736-1795), is rather reassuring. After the €2,470,400 garnered last June (Ader, Salle Favart) by a bottle-shaped vase ornately decorated on a bright yellow ground, the €4,453,960 achieved by this one, which is larger – a detail that matters – brilliantly confirms that. Chinese buyers are back and still looking for pieces with proven provenance. This vase, which Minister Chongli probably gave to the Dowager Empress Cixi (1861-1908) as a birthday present, was brought to France by Captain Antoine Laporte, who was stationed in Beijing in the early 20th century, along with many other objects, which he donated to the Musée Guimet.