Newsletter No. 494

09 # 4 9 4 | 1 9 . 0 3 . 2 0 1 7 黃地粉彩喜鵲梅紋碗一對 「永慶長春」款 江西景德鎮窯 清同治年間(1862 – 1874) 香港中文大學文物館( 1996.0543) 鍾棋偉先生惠贈 現於文物館展出 A pair of famille-rose bowls decorated with magpies and prunus on a yellow glaze ground Yongqing changchun mark Jingdezhen ware, Jiangxi province Qing, Tongzhi period (1862–1874) Gift of Mr. Anthony Cheung Jingdezhen in Jiangsu was renowned for its exquisite porcelain products and home to a number of imperial kilns, but many craftsmen had fled the place since warfare broke out in the days of the preceding Xianfeng Emperor. However, upon receiving the order, the imperial kiln craftsmen still gave their best to produce wedding porcelains with such refinement that the batch ranked top in quality among the products in the Tongzhi era. The rich colours of the bowls were evenly glazed to form a warm lustre. The magpies were drawn in fine strokes and the blossoms in simple lines. They were evenly spaced against the bright yellow ground, and the stamens of the flowers were accentuated with light blue dots which stood out from the bowl surface to give a three-dimensional presence. Early in the 11th year of Tongzhi’s era, the Emperor appointed Lady Alute, daughter of a Hanlin Academy official, to be his empress titled Xiaozheyi. The imperial wedding ceremony that took place seven months later lasted for two days on a scale most grand and extravagant, with thoroughly-observed rituals and everything custom- made. Tongzhi, who had been enthroned at the tender age of six, had never really governed the country. Overseeing national affairs practically behind the curtain were two Empress Dowagers—Ci’an and Cixi, the latter being his mother. It was said that Empress Xiaozheyi was dear to Tongzhi, but since she failed to win the favour of Cixi, he was forced to detach himself and finally turned to seek carnal pleasure in the brothels. He died in the last month of his 13th year in throne at the age of 19, followed by the ‘sudden death’ of his beloved queen 75 days later. Spring did not last long for the young couple. The pair of bowls, fired to commemorate an imperial matrimony, has outlived the fragility of youth and survived generations of turmoil and changes. It remains a symbol of love and vows and is now housed in the University’s Art Museum. Items bearing names which rhyme with words of auspicious connotation make popular motifs in Chinese art, the pair of bowls shown here being a vivid illustration. On the famille-rose yellow ground are magpies ( xi que ) and prunus blossoms ( mei hua ). While xi means happiness ‘ 喜 ’, the magpie is considered a bird bringing good tidings. The prunus blossoms signalling the onset of spring are emblematic of robust growth. The Chinese word for eyebrow ‘ 眉 ’ also pronounces as mei . So the scene of magpies flying among prunus blossoms alludes to the Chinese idiom ‘ xi shang mei shao ’, which literally means ‘joy flooding up to the eyebrows’. At the bottom of each bowl is a mark of four characters ‘ yongqing changchun ’ — ’celebrating everlasting spring’. The mark was written in red, a colour of joy and celebration in the Chinese context. The jocund mood of well-wishing was created to celebrate the imperial wedding of Qing Tongzhi Emperor who was on the throne for only 13 years. According to a memorandum issued by a provincial official of Jiangxi, in the sixth year of Tongzhi’s era, the Qing government ordered the imperial kilns to produce more than 10,000 wedding porcelain items in 24 selections, each consisting close to 700 pieces of bowls, plates, cups and spittoons. The ‘ famille-rose with magpies and prunus decorations on a yellow glaze ground’ was one of these selections. With deep rounded sides rising from a short tapering foot to an everted rim, both gilded, the bowls are elegant and aristocratic. Decoration with gold rimming was first found in Chinese porcelains during the Five Dynasties in the 10th century, and the skill was extensively adopted in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The bowls’ interiors were glazed in white. The yellow glaze ground on the exteriors discloses the prestigious status of the user, as yellow in Chinese is huang , which is homophonous to ‘ 皇 ’ meaning ‘royalty’. That is why the use of yellow glaze on porcelains was monopolized by the imperial family in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Living Happily Ever After… 此對瓷碗敞口、深腹,口沿及圈足以金彩作飾,簡約典雅中 流露貴氣。用金包鑲瓷器沿處的飾法最早可見於五代,稱為 「扣金」,至明清尤被廣泛使用。瓷碗內施白 釉 ,外壁以黃 釉 為地,透露用者尊貴不凡的身分。「黃」與「皇」諧音,黃色自 古以來就是皇室的象徵,明清時期更是皇家的專用 釉 色,民 間不得擅用。 端詳碗壁,黃地上以粉彩紋飾,繪出喜鵲在梅花錦簇間穿梭 飛舞、熱鬧歡騰之景。梅傳春信,有萬物欣欣向榮之意;至於 喜鵲,顧名思義,乃吉祥報喜之鳥。「梅」與「眉」諧音,喜鵲 立於梅梢則象徵「喜上眉梢」,寓意喜事臨門。瓷碗底部有 「永慶長春」四字紅彩楷書款,有別於同治官窯瓷器之青花 楷書款主流。 瓷碗慶祝的喜事,儼然是同治皇帝愛新覺羅 • 載淳大婚。根 據江西巡撫劉坤一的奏摺記載,同治六年傳諭御窯廠需於七 年之內燒造一萬餘件婚儀瓷器。大婚禮儀瓷器合共二十四套 樣式,黃地粉彩喜鵲梅紋屬其一,同類樣式的瓷器還有盤、 杯、唾壺等等,每套接近七百件器物。自咸豐五年以後,戰亂 迭起,景德鎮御窯廠工匠紛紛遷徙,迄同治之初均未復業, 名窯的瓷器質量漸走下坡。儘管如此,為了皇室大婚,景德鎮 御窯工匠還是竭盡所能,故該批婚儀瓷器仍屬同治年間官窯 器上品之作。 細看此對黃地粉彩喜鵲梅紋碗,色澤勻潤凝厚,黃地粉彩鮮 艷奪目;寫實工細的喜鵲與筆觸簡練的梅花交錯相映,疏落 有序;梅花蕊點上粉藍,粉彩微微凸出器表,更添立體美感。 同治十一年二月,同治帝冊立翰林院侍講崇綺之女阿魯特氏 為孝哲毅皇后,並於同年九月舉行大婚盛典,持續兩天,不 惜耗費巨款履行一切繁縟禮儀及特製婚儀用器,規模空前絕 後。同治帝六歲即位,因慈安太后與慈禧太后「垂簾聽政」 而從未掌握實權。相傳他十分鍾愛皇后,惟礙於親母慈禧 的阻撓而被迫疏遠之,轉到煙花柳巷尋歡作樂。同治十三年 臘月,皇帝染天花駕崩,年僅十九歲。七十五天後,皇后「遽 爾崩逝」。帝后雙雙早隕,但這對標誌他倆山盟海誓的婚儀 瓷碗,歷經歲月風霜,流傳至今,以另一種方式延續美好的 約定。 文:歷史系三年級歐靄明 喜上眉梢 連枝相依 雅 共 賞 / ART iculation