REF No. 6126
Sold: Chinese export Painted Enamel Lantern
Qianlong circa 1740
Probably Chinese market
Height: 14½ inches; 37cm
A rare Chinese painted enamel lantern with glass panels and a circular aperture, possibly for holding a pocket watch, decorated with flowers and four stylised bats around the aperture, on a yellow ground.
This is an early example of painted enamel on copper and the form is previously unrecorded. It could be a lantern as there is a metal guide on the inside base to perhaps secure a candle holder, though the circular aperture might be for putting glass slides, like a ‘magic lantern’ though in this case much of the light would spill out sideways.
Anther suggestion is that this aperture was to hold pocket watch, possibly one with clear back and face so that the mechanism would be back-lit. Watch holders are known in export porcelain and the Chinese were fascinated by European made clocks and automata.