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Oriental China - Famille Rose

( Originally Published 1911 )

We noted that the rose enamel was used in decoration by Yung-ching. The same rose deco-ration was continued by Keen-lung, which had an especial form of decoration consisting of the rose and white peony with the prunus—the so-called hawthorn. Frequently, too, there is a swastika trellis. We have dealt somewhat fully with the ruby-back plates as a branch of the rose family. This ruby and peach blossom rose ground was applied to vases with very telling effect. As, in the black family, the ground was a black covered with In almost invisible green glaze, so in this family we g et a peach blossom rose ground often powdered with pale blue, yellow, grey and white chrysanthemum blossoms. The reserves are often fan-shaped, and the decoration in these reserves consists of the usual subjects or emblems in brilliant enamel colours. Similar flowers to those noted before as the emblems of the seasons are frequently found. These include pale rose and blue and white peony, pale rose and white rose, peach blossom, chrysanthemums, the oleander with single rose and white prunus blossom. These rose pieces are extremely elegant and very rare. They date from the Yung-ching period, in which they reached their highest perfection, under Keen-lung the standard of excellence was nearly as high.

ROSE FAMILY—"FAMILLE ROSE" Egg-Shell Porcelain. Ruby-Back Plates.

The central Plate has the rim decorated with the noted octagon and square diaper pattern so often found on egg-shell pieces, and used on every piece shown in the photograph. This pattern is often intercepted by reserves. The plate has three leaf-shaped reserves decorated with white peony, ruby peach, and yellow persimmon. There are three other reserves having formal golden flowers with green leaves. The whole centre of the plate represents a domestic scene where a lady of high rank, seated, is giving instructions to two children. In the background are vases and a table on which is a plant. The back of the rim is ruby coloured. Diameter, 8i inches. Period, Keen-lung. The two other plates are also ruby-backed. They have on the rim three Joo-e-head reserves containing fruit and flowers in brilliant colours. The central decoration consists of vases of flowers in enamels of the finest quality. The octagon and square diaper pattern is blue on the inner rim and pink on the broad band forming the outer rim. The cups and saucers are no less beautiful. The border is relieved with reserves, and the inner rim of octagon and square diaper surrounds a hexagonal central reserve of Joo-e-head design. In this reserve there are baskets of flowers and bouquets in brilliant colours enamelled on a white ground. This group shows many of the peculiarities of the rose family decoration with regard to diaper pattern, shape of the reserves, and the general character of the ornament.


An oviform egg-shell Vase, beautifully painted, with ladies in the landscape carrying vases. The whole in rich enamel colours. Yungching period. Height, 19 1/2 in. without stand. This is one of the largest known examples of egg-shell porcelain. This vase is painted in the most elaborate and beautiful style, which was brought to great perfection under Keen-lung. Some collectors are inclined to attribute such egg-shell with delicate pencillings to the Yung-thing ena, though specimens which have been found with marks have been Keen-lung, and as time passes on Yung-thing will secure more and more support.

The lady carrying the vase is looking to her companion. Between them is an animal, either a deer or a kylin. The vase contains a branch of coral and two peacock's feathers, indicating a mandarin who has risen three steps at a time, as the coral and four feathers indicate a rise of five steps. The paintings of the figures and the vegetation. are most minutely executed, and the rich enamels are delicately shaded with " verte," " rose," and other tints, showing tree-stems and rocks in their natural colours. As in all classes, some specimen:; are better than others, but this piece is one of unsurpassed excellence. To this egg-shell class belong the ruby-back plates, which are amongst the most desirable specimens of Chinese art. The same delicate handling in painting and colouring distinguishes them all are enamelled in pale green, pink, yellow, &c.; trees with green foliage have their trunks and branches with sepia on a pale lavender ground, whilst the cloud forms, slightly defined, fade away into the distance.

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