A rare blue and white jar for the Portuguese market, circa 1610-1630

Lot 178. A rare blue and white jar for the Portuguese market, circa 1610-1630; 11.5cm., 4 1/2 in. Estimate 3,500—4,500 GBP. Lot sold 4,750 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's 2009

the hexa-lobed ovoid body rising from a knopped domed foot to a short waisted neck, applied at the shoulder with three cherub head masks above underglaze-blue leafy sprays and divided by floral sprays, all above a simple lotus band at the foot and below a floral band at the neck, together with a Japanese domed and pierced metal cover, Japanese wood box. 

Note: Jars of this form take their shape from European metal prototypes. The mixture of Western decoration of cherub heads and Chinese-style flower sprays show the Ming potters' ability to adopt Western designs into their repertoire. A similar jar can be found in the Franks collection in the British Museum, London, illustrated in Jessica Harrison-Hall, Ming Ceramics, London, 2001, pl. 12:61; and a related piece, where the flower sprays are replaced by emblems of Christ's Passion, Betrayal, Crucifixion and Descent from the Cross, in the collection of the Fundacao Medeiros e Almeida, Lisbon, is illustrated in the museum's catalogue Caminhos da Porcelana. Dinastias Ming e Qing, Lisbon, 1999, p. 160, pl. 14, where it is mentioned that it was made on order for the Portuguese Jesuits.

For further examples of these jars, see two sold in these rooms, 30th June 1964, lot 45, and 12th July 2006, lot 77; and another sold at Christie's London, 4th June 1973, lot 116.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 13 May 09. London