Subject:Re: Chinese Imari or just clobbering?
Posted By: Bill H Thu, Oct 26, 2017
If you review a bunch of Chinese Imari sale results in venues such as Christie's, liveauctioneers.com, and Guest & Gray, you'll generally find four principal date categories given of "18th century", "Kangxi", "Kangxi-Yongzheng" and "Qianlong".
My perception from what I've read and heard is that while the palette had been known earlier, the manufacture of Chinese Imari Wares didn't really get rolling until the early 18th century, toward the end of the Kangxi reign, at a time when many porcelain manufacturing techniques and palettes were still being fine-tuned. Keep in mind that the last minute Ming uprising that had kept the fate of the Imperial Kilns in question, had only been quelled around 1680, permitting the firing of ritual porcelains for use in the Imperial sacrifices.
The rather short dozen-year reign of the Yongzheng Emperor(1723-35) was a frenetic period of innovation at the imperial kiln, with the Emperor taking a deep personal interest in improved porcelain-making and its administration; one arrogant official wound up being executed. I infer from what I've read that porcelain quality underwent somewhat of a quantum leap at Jingdezhen, meaning more income for the palace from collection of the porcelain tax.
Finally, it is my understanding that the popularity of Chinese Imari had started to decline by the mid-1700s as the craze for the famille rose palette was skyrocketing.
So with all the foregoing in mind, I believe that dish I've already shown here, with its underglaze blue tracery and first-class pattern of the time-honored bird & flower motif, represents the kind of improved quality that the Yongzheng emperor was willing to kill for and did. I'm unsure of what implications should be attached to the fact that I've only been able to spot one other example of this pattern beside the three I have. In any event, here's the one, an 11-inch charger from a Christie's auction in 2005, along with some shots of a 12.25-inch charger in the same pattern I'd found at an estate sale in 2004, and some enlargeable views of the smaller dish already seen.
URL Title :Chinese Imari Pictures & Auction Result