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A Very Rare Ming Blue And White Baluster Vase. Early Ming Dynasty, Second Half 15th Century

Of slender pear form with applied lion-mask loop handles suspending fixed rings, the main section decorated with stylised lotus and scrolling foliage, above a lappet band, the foot with florets, the neck with a band of ruyi suspending pendants. 15½ in. (39.3 cm.) high - Price Realized £70,850 ($115,273)

Provenance: Sotheby's London, 11 December 1979, lot 278

Notes: This is a rare example of a temple vase of the period related most closely, perhaps to an example from the Hongwu period in the Avery Brundage Collection and illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Shogakukan Series, Vol. 14, col. pl. 6 and painted with an underglaze copper red dragon; cf. also a near identical vase in the Shanghai Museum illustrated in Underglaze Blue and Red, col. pl. 35. These are related in turn to Longquan celadon vases of similar form popular especially in the Yuan period. For four different examples, cf. Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, nos. 582-585, these however, do not have dished-mouths; another blue and white example from the 15th centurynow in the Dresden Porcelain Collection but without the loose rings is illustrated by Friedrich Reichel in Keramos, no. 43, January 1969, p. 18, pl. 6. Two different shaped vases of this 'temple vase' group are in The Percival David Foundation, cf. the Illustrated Catalogue of Porcelains Decorated in Underglaze Blue and Copper Red, Section 3, no. 680, for a dated Hongzhi tall vase and a Zhengde marked example, no. A 681.

Christie's.  A Private English Collection of White Jade Carvings. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art including Export Art. 4 November 2008. London, King Street. Image Christie's Ltd 2008 . www.christies.com