A pair of impressive Chinese porcelain lobed large fencai lemon yellow ground jardinieres, each painted with “100 butterflies” in flight amongst double-xi, happiness, characters, within gilt borders and beneath a flat keyfret rim, all on turquoise ground ruyi-head feet.

13 ¼ inches, 33.7 cm diameter; 9 1/8 inches, 23.3 cm high.

Xianfeng/Tongzhi, 1851-1874.


Provenance & Additional Information

  • From the private collection of Arne Bruun Rasmussen (1910-1985), Copenhagen, Denmark, sold by Sotheby’s Amsterdam, 12th May 1986, lot 231.
  • A Xianfeng mark and period quatrefoil example ruby-ground example is illustrated by Yang Xin in Porcelains with Cloisonné Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Beijing, Vol. 39, no. 223, p. 252; and a Daoguang, “Shende tang” marked example with similar feet, no. 201, p. 226.
  • The ‘Hundred butterflies’ design is closely associated with a unique group of yellow-ground wares produced as a special commission for the Imperial Court during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor. A drawing from the Qing Court Collection shows a similarly-painted bowl, with notes listing the forms and quantities to be produced in this design; see Guanyang Yuci: Gugong bowuyuan cang Qingdai zhici guanyang yu yuyao ciqi, Beijing, 2007, p.120, no.22. See also a smaller rectangular jardinière with a similar design but with a yellow ground, Tongzhi, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in , Beijing, 2007, p.91, no.14.


One small foot flake and three blue enamel dot flakes retouched, natural wear to gilt.