Lot 1903. A Fine Ge-Type Glazed Cong-Shaped Vase, Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795); 11 in. (28 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 800,000 - HKD 1,200,000Price realised HKD 750,000© Christie's Image Ltd 2013

Of square section, the vase is strongly potted in archaistic form, moulded in shallow relief with the Bagua, the Eight Daoist Trigrams on each face below a circular mouth and raised on a splayed foot ring, all under a thick pale grey glaze with dark grey and brown crackles throughout. The circular foot ring is applied with purplish-brown wash. 

Note: The form of the present vase is modelled after the archaic jade ritual object with a circular core and a square exterior known as cong, which is often carved with stylised masks between horizontal registers around the corners. One such example, dated to the Neolithic period and attributed to the Liangzhu Culture, from the Nanjing Museum Collection, is included in the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition, China, 5000 Years, New York, 1998, Catalogue, no. 5. Ceramic vases of archaistic cong form were produced as early as the Song dynasty in the Guan and Longquan kilns, such as a Guan vase with notches on four corners from the Percival David Foundation and now housed at the British Museum, illustrated by Rosemary Scott in Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art. A Guide to the Collection, London, 1989, fig. 42.

Cong vases produced in the Qing period, like the current example, are further modified with the moulded Eight Trigrams design. The crackled glaze on the current vase is in imitation of the 'iron-wire and golden thread' glaze on Song dynasty Ge wares. Archaistic Ge-type wares were produced in imperial kilns as early as the Yongle period, with the technique reaching perfection during the Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns. Compare to an identical vase from the Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum Collection, illustrated in The Prime Cultural Relics Collected by Shenyang Imperial Palace Museum, The Chinaware Volume The Second Part, Shenyang, 2007, p. 164, no. 4; another one from the Edward T. Chow Collection, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 19 May 1981, lot 503.