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Yixing square teapot with flowers of the four seasons in painted enamels, Kangxi reign (1662-1722), Qing dynasty

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Accession Number
Yixing square teapot with flowers of the four seasons in painted enamels
Kangxi reign (1662-1722), Qing dynasty
H. 9.3 cm;Diam. 6.5×6.5 cm;Diam. of base. 7.1×7.1 cm


This square teapot has a lid that interfits with the mouth and is adorned with a square knob, on which several blemishes can be seen. A square spout and curved rectangular handle are respectively attached to the front and back of the teapot. The base is attached to a ring foot, and the underside is painted white, and bears an inscription of four blue characters at the center, stating, "Kang Xi Yu Zhi (Made for the Imperial Use of the Kangxi Emperor)." The inscription is surrounded by a double-square frame. The surface of the lid is decorated with China roses, chrysanthemums, and narcissuses, while the sides of the vessel are adorned with peonies, lotus flowers, aibika flowers, and plum blossoms, respectively representing each of the four seasons. The surface of the patterns glistens with a natural sheen acquired after firing. The shaping technique indicates that this vessel hails from Yixing, and the "Kang Xi Yu Zhi" inscription on the underside of the vessel shows that this work was most likely produced in the same manner as other painted enamel works intended for imperial use during the Kangxi reign: namely, the bodies were first produced elsewhere and then delivered to the Qing court for the painting of decorative patterns. Based on the accession number of this teapot in the records of the imperial court, this work was originally displayed in the Qianqing Palace, and records from the "Palace Items Auditing Report"compiled by the Committee for the Disposition of the Qing Imperial Possessions, as well as the "Furnishing Archive of Enamel, Glass, and Yixing Ware" from the Daoguang reign, this work can be traced back to an effort personally led by the Emperor in the third year of the Qianlong reign to develop storage cases for artifacts in the imperial collections. From these records, it was discovered that this work, "A Yixing square teapot with flowers of the four seasons in painted enamels," was among the first set of artifacts for which storage cases were developed, but its wooden case has since been lost. This was one of the earliest examples in which the Qianlong Emperor sought to better store and preserve the enamelware of the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong reigns in the imperial collections.