Pair of vases

Date: ca. 1750

Culture: Chinese with French mounts

Medium: Hard-paste porcelain, gilt bronze

Dimensions: Overall: 7 1/4 × 7 1/4 × 5 1/2 in., 6lb. (18.4 × 18.4 × 14 cm, 2.7216kg)

Classification: Metalwork-Gilt Bronze

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1977

Accession Number: 1977.102.1, .2


These sky-blue vases of the Qianlong period were embellished in Paris with scrolled and foliated mounts that were used as bases, handles, and rims and adapted to the European Rococo aesthetic. The mounting of both Asian and European porcelain became a standard and lucrative practice for the Parisian marchands merciers. In this manner they could enhance a mediocre piece of porcelain or preserve a precious but damaged object. These "makers of nothing and sellers of everything" also invented new models for porcelain by giving them pierced mounts and turning them into incense burners or potpourri holders.