Location: Room XV– Audience Hall
This painted porcelain vase is one of two located at the sides of the door that leads from the Audience Room to the Seagull Room. Its current placement corresponds to what is documented in pictures taken in the 1870s.
In China, receptacles like these were used as fish bowls, while in Europe, only aristocrats could afford objects of such workmanship.
The inside is painted with a scene of fish swimming amid aquatic plants (the lotus plants are particularly notable). The internal decoration must have echoed the presence of real fish in the two tanks, for a spectacular final effect. Symmetrical floral elements decorate the outside of the vase, developing around two luxuriant peonies.
The colour pink stands out amongst the kaleidoscopic enamels, making it quite possible that these vases can be traced back to the famille rose (the ‘pink family’), Chinese artisans working in Jingdezhen from 1720 onward.
The ornate gilded wood base was custom designed and realised by Milanese ebonist Giuseppe Speluzzi, commissioned by Maximilian.