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A massive Imperial Ming blue and white vase 'meiping', China, the shoulder with a six-character mark Wanli and of the period. Photo Nagel Auktionen

With thickly potted sides tapering to a flat base, vigorously painted with two writhing scaly dragons amid large lotus blooms borne on scrolled stems, between borders of simplified ruyi heads and lotus petal panels, the nianhao is written on the shoulders below the short waisted neck with slightly lipped rim. H. 52 cm - Estimate 80000/120000 €

Provenance: Private collection Rhineland, bought from Sotheby's London, 10.12.1985, Lot 208

A slightly larger vase of this pattern, with the same arrangement of the nianhao, is illustrated by Joseph, Ming Porcelains, pl. 52, and another was sold at Sotheby's London, 1 April 1974, lot 208.

Smaller vases of the same pattern, but with the characters of the nianhao spaces around the shoulders, are illustrated in the Catalogue of the Frankfurt Museum für Kunsthandwerk, no. 8, and by Lion-Goldschmidt, Ming Porcelain, pl. 178, in the Kunstindustri Museum, Copenhagen (42/1950). She mentions three pairs of covered vases of this type found in 1958 in the tomb of the Emperor Wanli, one of which is illustrated by Mayuyama, Chyugoku Bunbutsu Kenbu, pl. 53, now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, and another, with Jiajing mark, by Beurdeley, La Céamique Chinoise, pl. 100, see also in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (II), vol. 35 nos 160+1, p. 171+2.

Nagel Auktionen. 2013/05/08http://www.auction.de/