A Large Sacrificial-Blue Glazed Bottle Vase, tianqiuping. Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2012

The vase is of globular form rising to a tall, slightly flared, columnar neck. It is applied overall with a thick, vibrant and deep blue glaze. The interior and base of the vase are applied with a transparent glaze. 21¾ in. (55.2 cm.) high. Estimate HK$3,800,000 - HK$4,500,000 ($492,741 - $583,509)

Notes: Compare to a similar example with this cobalt blue glaze included in the exhibition, The Wonders of the Potter's Palette, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1984, no. 85. Another example with a less globular body is in the Baur Collection, Geneva, illustrated by J. Ayers and M. Sato in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Volume 15, Qing Dynasty, Tokyo, 1983, p. 199, no. 272. A third example is from the Nanjing Museum Collection, included in the exhibition, Qing Imperial Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1995, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 66.

The rich cobalt blue seen on the current vase is sometimes referred to as 'sacrificial blue'. This name derives from the use of vessels bearing this coloured glaze during sacrifices at the Imperial Altar of Heaven in the Ming dynasty. However it has been noted that during the Qing dynasty these massive vases were made as part of decorative furnishings for the Palace.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. 28 November 2012. Hong Kong