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13 mai 2024

A rare guan-glazed quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng

A rare guan-glazed quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng
A rare guan-glazed quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng
A rare guan-glazed quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng

Lot 10. Property from an important European collection. A rare guan-glazed quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 9.9 cm. Lot Sold 1,778,000 HKD (Estimate 1.200,000 - 1.500,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2024

 

finely potted as four conjoined vases of slender cylindrical form with a short waisted neck, covered overall in an unctuous soft bluish-grey glaze suffused with a matrix of golden crackles, the footrings applied with dark brown dressing, each base inscribed with one character of the four-character seal mark in underglaze blue.

 

Provenance: Acquired from Edward T. Chow (1910-80) in the late 1960s.

 

NoteConjoined vases of this charming and unusual form were an innovation of the Yongzheng reign, and the present vessel, which echoes the unctuous glazes of the finest Song dynasty prototypes, would have required the craftsmen's utmost attention in potting and firing. Remarkable in its well-proportioned form and even luminous glaze, the vase attests to the ingenuity in utilising historical precedents in the creation of new works that met the Yongzheng Emperor's exacting standards for quality and reverence of China's glorious heritage.

While delicate, almost watery, celadon glazes had already been created in the Yongle period, this pale green tone, achieved by lessening the amount of iron typically found on Song dynasty Longquan celadons, began to be produced in the Kangxi reign. During the Yongzheng period, the production of wares greatly expanded. From the first years of his reign, the Yongzheng Emperor commissioned works from the Palace Workshops inspired by treasured Song dynasty antecedents held in the imperial collection. These antiques were used as standards for quality, models for archaistic designs and as inspirations for innovation. In 1735, Tang Ying, the celebrated superintendent of the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, composed the Taocheng jishi bei ji [Commemorative stele on ceramic production], in which several varieties of celadon glazes were recorded to have been experimented with at the time (see Stephen W. Bushell, Oriental Ceramic Art. Illustrated by Examples from the Collection of W.T. Walters, New York, 1896; reprint London, 1981, p. 197).

A slightly smaller vase of this type in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Qingdai yuyao ciqi [Qing imperial porcelains], vol. 1, Beijing, 2005, pl. 149; two were sold in these rooms, the first, 24th May 1985, lot 503, and the second, 9th October 2020, lot 22; and another was sold in our New York rooms, 20th March 2019, lot 518, from the collection of Stephen Junkunc III.

Vases of this form with Yongzheng marks and of the period, are also known to be covered in other monochrome glazes: see an example with a Ru-type glaze, in the Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the museum's exhibition Qing Monochrome Porcelain, Taipei, 1981, cat. no. 77; a celadon-glazed example from the J.M. Hu Collection, sold in our New York rooms, 4th June 1985, lot 40; and a slightly smaller version covered in a teadust glaze, also sold in our New York rooms, 21st March 2018, lot 536.

 

Sotheby'sAn Important European Collection of Chinese Ceramics - Acquired from Edward T. Chow, Hong Kong, 9 April 2024.

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