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Cloisonné yen vessel with animal-mask decoration, Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty

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Accession Number
Cloisonné yen vessel with animal-mask decoration
Qianlong reign (1736-1795), Qing dynasty
H. 11.9 cm;Mouth D. 13.9 ×13.7 cm;Foot D. 7.34 × 7.0 cm


This Cloisonné yen vessel with animal-mask decoration was made in the style of bronze yen vessels used to steam food during the Western Zhou Dynasty. Traditional bronze yen vessels were an amalgamation of wide-mouthed basin-like zeng vessels and three-legged li vessels. This vessel further includes a lid, which is decorated with two layers of cloisonné enamel animal mask patterns. Atop the lid, a knob in the form of a coiled dragon on a throne of lotus petals is attached. There are two detachable swastika pattern flat racks located in the waist of the vessel. The vessel has rope pattern ears, and the main decoration on the upper zeng portion consists of an animal mask in the shape of an upside-down plantain leaf. The belly of the lower li portion is similarly decorated with an animal mask pattern. On the bottom of the vessel, an inscription in standard script reads, "Qian Long Nian Zhi (Made in the Reign of Qianlong)." The underside of the vessel is decorated with entwined branch patterns, interspersed with engraved pearl roundel patterns in the manner of gold and silverware, and these serve to enhance the air of majestic grandeur. The exposed parts of the porcelain body have been gilded with gold. The vessel has an accompanying rosewood stand and nanmu wood box.