Chuhong (Rebecca) Xu
ARTH 1004 W | Fall 14
Dr. Minku Kim
T.A Parisa A. Moghadam
Oct 17th, 2014
A Study of The Lidded Chinese Canton Enamel Vase
This paper is a study of The Lidded Chinese Canton Enamel Vase in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (M.I.A). On Friday October 3rd, I had the opportunity to visit the M.I.A and found this refined artwork extraordinarily attractive. The Lidded Chinese Canton Enamel Vase presents traditional Chinese porcelain elements as well as the unique element of Kwon-glazed decoration. The brilliant lemon-yellow color used as the background and gorgeous design of the floral objects caught my attention immediately, and the exotic landscape in the main scene indicates its unique historical value as a product of Chinese exports trade. As a native of Canton (also called as Kwon-chow), I am honored to learn that this Lidded Chinese Canton Enamel Vase is part of the Asian Art Collection in the M.I.A. and I consider it as an exquisite item among various Chinese ceramics in M.I.A. This Lidded Chinese Canton Enamel Vase bears a Qianlong reign mark indicating it was manufactured during Qianlong period (1736 – 1795) of the Qing Dynasty. It is a baluster-shaped vase with a flared foot and short, waisted neck. The final, luxurious gilding of rim and base indicate a second firing had been completed. The vase is 23.8cm in height, moderate in size yet relatively deep. This elegant vase is decorated entirely in colored glaze enamels that make its surface extremely smooth. Multiple bright colors used in this enamel vase with a warm lemon-yellow ground project a pleasant and harmonious mood. The scroll of rosebud on the lid is pink, shaded with a rose-purple color. Its vigorous design is neatly crafted. The vase has various geometric shapes that are not identical due to different widths in rim, shoulder, and base. However, the overall layout of this vase is strongly harmonious, and its movement is fairly stable and rhythmic. The rim, shoulder and base are all decorated with bands of twisted ribbons. The first pink and yellow twisted ribbons decorated within interlaced borders run below the rim. Stylized roses and chrysanthemums are paneled on the neck, alternately in profile and full face, finely shaded with three-pointed leaves. A band of hooked leaves are drawn right below the floral buds, presenting an effective contrast between bold and delicate elements. Underneath the leaves is another band of cloud motif filling with tendrils and flowers around the shoulder. On the shoulder, two dragonhead-like knobs, from which loose gilt-copper ring-handles are suspended, are positioned at the widest point of the body. The stepped, domed cover has a gilt-cooper final. Next, filling the background behind the cartouche are scattered chrysanthemums, peonies, and camellia. The horizontal design of camellias is outlined in cobalt blue; the charming chrysanthemums are outlined in orange; while the peonies bouquet is outlined in rose-purple with leaves and stems in black. The main dabbed-on background is lemon-yellowish with fine speckles of black. The hanging orange peonies to the left is fringed with drop-like pistils. Besides, the color of rose collar becomes lighten from the outer edges of the petals towards the center, which has yellow stamens and black pistils. Leaves are green, in varied paler and darker tones. The smaller leaves are shaded in grey, and the larger ones are alternately pale and turquoise-green. All floral objects are brush-painted with a curvilinear stroke, soft and light, starting from the center of the flower; leaves, too, are painted in lightly modulated strokes. The main body of this Chinese Canton Enamel Vase was painted in delicately colored enamels with a countryside landscape with figures. The large cartouche depicts a pastoral scene with a lady and two children with European style dressing. The rosy-cheeked woman sits down with an instrument on her thigh. On her curly hair, she is...
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