Chinese Cloisonné Moon Flask, ca. 1800
I had an uncle who was in the service and he was in China before it became communist, and he brought back quite a few things, so this may be one of the things that he brought back.
And when did you get it?
Probably about four or five years ago.
It's Chinese, we'll start with that. And we can tell that from the basic decoration on the outside, the profusion of colorful flowers that encompass the entire surface. And they're really beautifully done in a cloisonnÈ technique where this is effectively colored glass that has been polished down within wire separators, which is what cloisonnÈ is. And it's been embellished by these marvelous kind of gilt bronze fantastic animals, these mythical animals, which are, in the culture of China, protective lions meant to keep away, ward off evil spirits. This is called a cloisonnÈ moon flask. It is in the shape of the moon. The other elements on it that are interesting is, if we look at the vase, we see that it is a key fret pattern. The basic idea here is that this is a beautiful object meant to convey color into whatever the setting would be. And that's the purpose of this. And then the gilded elements here, the little animals and the rim and the foot, which would have been gilded and is now worn off, you can imagine how that would appear with a bright light shining against it and reflecting off with the rest of this. It would have been pretty dazzling. This one does not have a mark. There are known examples like this that do have marks, that indicate when they were made. This was made between the Qianlong period and the end to the Jiaqing period, which is the late 18th century into the early 19th century, so roughly circa 1800. Wonderful object. It does have a flaw, and that flaw is right here in the center, which is hard to see. There is an indentation where some pressure was applied to the surface and slightly pushed it in. Now that's going to affect the value. Do you want to venture a guess as to the value?
No idea. I figured that it was probably a valuable piece.
Well, you might like to know it's worth about $5,000 to $8,000 at auction.
Wow. All right! Very good.
If it didn't have that indentation and the gilding was still intact, this would probably fall into the $7,000 to $10,000 range.
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