Lot 108. A rare pair of Ru-type gu-shaped vases, Seal marks and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 17.2 cm., 6 3/4 in. Estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,500,000 HKD. Lot sold 5,060,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby's 2012
based on the archaic bronze gu drinking vessel, each of slender cylindrical form with a wide trumpet mouth and splayed foot, the body divided into three sections by a slightly protruding belly, the lower and middle section further divided by four vertical flanges, covered overall with a glossy semi-opaque glaze of icy-blue tone suffused with a fine network of beige crackles throughout and pooling in the recesses, the unglazed foot dressed in a brown wash, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark in underglaze blue.
Provenance: Acquired in Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s.
Exhibited: Zandelou Qingdai guanyao danseyou ciqi/Qing Imperial Monochromes. The Zandelou Collection, Shanghai Museum, Beijing Museum and Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2005, cat. no. 26.
Literature: Helen D. Ling and E.T. Chow, Collection of Chinese Ceramics from the Pavilion of Ephemeral Attainment, vol. III, Hong Kong, 1950, pl. 159.
Note: Beaker vases of this archaic bronze form known as gu were in the Yongzheng period reproduced in porcelain with various glazes and in various proportions, with and without flanges. A Yongzheng prototype of these beakers, similarly shaped with flanges around the central and bottom parts, but of slightly smaller size and with a guan-type glaze, is in the Nanjing Museum and was included in the exhibition Qing Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Art Gallery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 1995, cat. no. 32.
A very similar Ru-type gu-shaped vase of Qianlong mark and period, illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics from the Meiyintang Collection, London, 1994-2010, vol. 4, no. 1792, was sold in these rooms, 4th April 2012, lot 4. A similar pair of Qianlong beakers with a guan-type glaze was sold in these rooms, 2nd May 2005, lot 688.
A similar, slightly taller beaker of Qianlong mark and period in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is published in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang gu taoci ciliao xuancui [Selection of ancient ceramic material from the Palace Museum], Beijing, 2005, vol. 2, pl. 244; and one with a teadust glaze, from the Paul and Helen Bernat collection, was sold in these rooms, 15th November 1988, lot 72 and twice at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30th April 2001, lot 681 and 27th November 2007, lot 1718.