An interesting highlight from the forthcoming auction of Fine Chinese Ceramics & Asian Works of Art, on 22 May, is this charming large Chinese Export Famille Rose charger, from the Qing Dynasty, 18th century. It hails from a private collection, removed from a Hampshire country house.
Painted in yellow, turquoise, blue, pink, mauve and green enamels with iron-red and gilded details, the piece presents a courtship scene of figures on a terrace with a cockerel and a hen below and the border is reserved with four figural panels.
The charger would have been made either during the latter part of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng or the early years of Emperor Qianlong. The former was the 4th son of the the Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng came to the throne when the crown prince failed to fulfil his duties. He saw through various government centralisation and formal tax collecting initiatives and set up the rule for electing the Emperor's successor in secret: the name was written and stored in two separate locations and checked on the death of the late Emperor. Thereafter the throne was never contested.
Qianlong was the 4th son of Yongzheng and reigned from 1735 to 1796, the longest de facto ruler in the history of China and at 87 years old the longest-living. He inherited a thriving empire and during his long reign the Qing Dynasty reached its most splendid and prosperous era, with a large population and economy. He led military campaigns and extended his territories however the last years of his reign witnessed corruption and wastefulness at court coupled with a stagnating civil society.
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