Lot 2123. A Fine and very Rare famille Rose and Underglaze-Blue Decorated 'Pomegranate' meiping, Qianlong Six-Character Seal Mark And Of The Period (1736-1795); 6 1/8 in. (15.5 cm.) high, box. Estimate $520,000 - $770,000Price Realized $1,867,587. Photo Christie's Image Lt 2013

The vase is finely potted with a rounded shoulder in characteristic meiping form. The main body is delicately enamelled in the famille rose palette to depict two mirror-imaged branches, each growing pomegranate fruit and flowers. A band of overlapping plantain in underglaze blue alternating with green enamel encircles the foot. The broad shoulder is similarly decorated with a band of lappets picked out in green, yellow and iron-red enamels against an underglaze-blue ground. 

Provenance: Sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 2 May 2000, lot 638

LiteratureSotheby's Thirty Years in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, no. 330

Note: The combination in the use of underglaze-blue, famille rose enamels and iron-red on the present vase creates a striking visual effect. Two Qianlong-marked meiping vases of the same design appear to be recorded. The first example is of larger size () with a cover in the Qing Court Collection, illustrated in Porcelains with Cloisonne Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, no. 90.

A Fine and very Rare famille Rose and Underglaze-Blue Decorated 'Pomegranate' meiping and cover, Qianlong Six-Character Seal Mark And Of The Period (1736-1795); 32.5 cm. high in the Qing Court Collection, Palace Museum.

A  Famille Rose and Underglaze-Blue Decorated 'Pomegranate' meiping and cover, Qianlong Six-Character Seal Mark And Of The Period (1736-1795); 32.5 cm. high in the Qing Court Collection, Palace Museum.

The second example of a slightly smaller vase (14 cm. high) without a mark was sold at Sotheby's London, 12 July 2006, lot 144; it was noted in the catalogue entry that the London vase and the present example once belonged to the same family collection in the early 20th century.

The motif of a ripe pomegranate, bursting to expose its seeds provides the rebus for liukai baizi, 'Pomegranate revealing one hundred sons', or Qianzi tongmo, 'One thousand sons within the same generation', conveys the auspicious wish for numerous sons.