Teabowl and saucer

DATE: 1736~1795 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in enamels and gilt

Painting on porcelain during the Qianlong period (1736-1795) was of a particularly high standard, galvanised by the invention of many new enamel colours including opaque white. This was instrumental in producing pastel shades for the famille rose, or fencai (pale colours) style, which grew in popularity throughout the 18th century, becoming the favoured style during the reign of the Yongzheng Emperor (1723-1735). Domestic scenes were a popular decorative theme for the European market in the mid-18th century as they were considered to be an insight into domestic life in China. They often depicted elegantly dressed ladies with a number of young children in interior settings surrounded by furniture. In this teabowl and saucer, a large bookcase is depicted storing scholarly objects such as brush pots, scrolls and books. Such scenes were also used on pieces made for the Imperial and domestic markets who preferred the inclusion of a single band border, as on this example, instead of elaborate multi band borders to frame the interior setting depicted.