Lot 2123. An important and very fine inscribed falangcai enamelled 'Beneath pine trees' mallet-shaped vase, Yongzheng-Qianlong period (1723-1795); 7 1/8 in. (18 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 6,000,000 - HKD 8,000,000. Price realised HKD 35,380,000. © Christie’s Images Limited 2012.
The rounded body of the vase is finely potted with a broad base and a rounded shoulder under a tall cylindrical neck. The exterior is superbly enamelled with a continuous landscape scene, finely detailed with an elderly scholar holding a long staff in one hand and standing under a tall gnarled pine tree that extends into clusters of swirling clouds. The scholar is depicted as in conversation with a young attendant who is pointing into the distance. The reverse side is inscribed with a poem written in kaishu, standard script, followed by an iron-red seal mark, Changzhi, 'Eternal'.
Provenance: Alfred E. Hippisley Collection (1848-1939)
J. Insley Blair (1870-1939) and thence by descent to the present owners
Literature: A. E. Hippisley, A Catalogue of The Hippisley Collection of Chinese Porcelains: With A Sketch of the History of Ceramic Art in China, Washington, 1890, 130
A. E. Hippisley, A Sketch of the History of Ceramic Art in China, with a Catalogue of the Hippisley Collection of Chinese Porcelains, Washington, 1902, pl. 130
Note: The short poem was composed by the Tang dynasty poet, Jia Dao (779-843), under the title 'Looking for a Hermit Without Finding Him', and may be translated as:
Beneath the pine tree, I asked the attendant.
'My master has gone for herbs', was his reply.
'Amidst the yonder hills covered with clouds,
so I know not where.'
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. 28 November 2012. Hong Kong