Details
Of rectangular form and decorated with lotus scroll, each supported by four bearded kneeling foreigners on one knee wearing similarly decorated robes, and fitted with later lead liner
3738 in. (95 cm.) high; 3534 in. (90.8 cm.) wide; 16 in. (40 cm.) deep
Provenance
By repute, Edmund de Rothschild (1916-2009), according to the Aveline invoice.
Acquired from Aveline & Co., Paris, 1994.
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A large cloisonné vessel of related form, but with two kneeling foreigners supporting the rectangular vessel rather than four, and with the addition of a cover, and dated to the Qianlong period (1736-1795), is in the collection of Victoria & Albert Museum, London, ref. 255-1876. This vessel was also exhibited in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art in the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935-1936, and is illustrated in the Catalogue, p.189, no. 2015. The museum currently notes that while this vessel has been called an ice chest in the past, a more recent view is that it could have been used an incense burner, since the cover is pierced, suggesting that the intention was to emit heat, rather than to retain cold.

A related, smaller cloisonné censer, enameled with dragons confronted on a shou character on the sides and supported by two standing figures of bearded foreigners, is in the collection of the Palace Museum, Beijing: see Collections of the Palace Museum. Enamel Ware, Beijing, 2008, p.137, no. 97. A large cloisonné censer and cover, similar to the Victoria & Albert Museum example, was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 27 May 2021, lot 12. A rare Imperial pair of gilt-bronze, cloisonné and champlevé-enameled figures of kneeling foreigners from the Juan Jose Amezaga collection, sold at Christie's Paris, 13 June 2007, lot 27.

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