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Court-Style Type

The Yongzheng Emperor promulgated an order in 1727 for "court-style types,"announcing that court objects had to differ from those outside in "manner of appearance," in the process establishing a stylistic model especially for the court.

In terms of falangcai decoration, it includes the four elements of poetry, calligraphy, painting, and seals. Since these are rarely seen on vessels made outside of the court, they may thus be inferred as belonging to the "court-style type." In tracing its origins, a connection can be made with the twelve floral deity cups of the Kangxi reign, but the decoration of Yongzheng falangcai porcelains is even richer and more varied in terms of painting, poetry, and seals. Not only at once were the formalistic compositions of the twelve floral deity cups changed, but close cooperation between painting and calligraphy craftsmen allowed the contents of the poetry, painting, and seals to be integrated, thereby highlighting the virtues of each.


Poetic and pictorial splendor

Dish with flowers and bamboo in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Dish with flowers and bamboo in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735

This group of pieces have "Made in Qing dynasty, the reign of Yongzheng" six character reign mark in underglaze blue, and its mark is obviously different to four-character reign mark in blue enamel. But the poetry, seals, and calligraphy style are similar to the porcelain with painted enamels made in the Imperial Workshops. Therefore, they could be regarded as examples of the Imperial Workshops using white porcelains from Jingdezhen to paint enamels on them.


The Emperor's taste

The decorative motifs that are praised by Emperor Yongzheng, such as blue landscape, ink landscape, landscape with flowers, patterns of peacocks and wild goose, and the motifs of plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum which he approved, can all be regarded as reflecting the Emperor's taste on porcelain with painted enamels.

Bowl with peacock in falangcai painted enamels   Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Bowl with peacock in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735
Dish with blue landscape in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Dish with blue landscape in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735
Dish with blue landscape in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Dish with blue landscape in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735
Bowl with blue landscape in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Bowl with blue landscape in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735

Poetry, calligraphy, painting and seals

The so-called "poetry" is selections of poems from the poets of Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. "Calligraphy" means the works of the writers assigned by the Emperor. "Painting" is the works painted by the enamellers, or copied from the sketches of the court painters. "Seal" is a sentence with auspicious meanings composed by three tw-character seals, which responds to the decoration patterns as well.


Green Landscape

Bowl with landscape in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Bowl with landscape in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735

According to the historical allusion, the landscape is a metaphor to moral standards of the literati. The seals on this group of pieces with green landscape motif as decorative patterns respond to the meanings of "longevity", "high mountains" and "long rivers" and "longevity", "high morality" and "lifelong ambitions". This reflects that Emperor Yongzheng not only expects and encourages his morality to continue developing as he ages, in the meantime, he also expects himself to live a long life, like the mountains and rivers in the nature.


Bird Songs

Bowl with birds and bamboo in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Bowl with birds and bamboo in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735

Unique birds such as sparrow, magpie, swallow, mynas, oriole, quail, wild goose, pheasant, peacock, red-crested crane and black paradise flycatcher frequently appear on Yongzheng’s porcelain with painted enamels. These creatures symbolize times of prosperity, and the tranquil scenes from the Kangxi reign now become pictures with lively and cheerful decorations.


Fragrance of the flowers

Plum, orchid, bamboo, chrysanthemum, magnolia, begonia, peony, China rose, hibiscus, osmanthus, pomegranate, geranium, narcissus, daylily, camellia, apricot flower, peach blossom, lotus, nandina, lingzhi mushrooms and so on, all are plants with different colors and have delicate branches and leaves. Not only that the variety of flowers surpass those of the reign of Kangxi, they also symbolize the eternal spring for all seasons.

Bowl with peony in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Bowl with peony in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735
Bowl with lotus in yellow ground of falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Bowl with lotus in yellow ground of falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735
Pot with two quails  in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Pot with two quails in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735
Dish with flowers in falangcai painted enamels  Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735 Dish with flowers in falangcai painted enamels Qing dynasty, Yongzheng reign 1723-1735

The functions of porcelain with painted enamels

According to the records of Imperial Household Archives, in addition to giving delicate and elegant porcelain with painted enamels as gifts to Mongolian and Tibetan nobles, Emperor Yongzheng also gave orders to make cases for these pieces as everlasting treasures.