Enamelled vase

From China
Qing dynasty, 18th century AD

In the style of contemporary porcelain

The technique of painted enamel was invented in Limoges, France in the fifteenth century. Its introduction to China is attributed to Jesuits at the court of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1722). The base was usually of copper, on which were painted enamels that is, coloured glasses. The decorative style reflects that of contemporary overglaze enamelled porcelain and is predominantly the type known as famille rose. The most striking colour is a pink (French: 'rose') enamel derived from colloidal gold. Flowers, fruits, landscapes and figures were common motifs. This vase is a good example, with a delicately painted scene of flowers and quails.

Many pieces were made later for export, with shapes and decorative designs to suit Western tastes.

Find in the collection online

More information


J. Rawson (ed.), The British Museum book of Chi (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


Height: 12.400 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1936.4-13.46


Bequeathed by Reginald R. Cory


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore