A very rare peachbloom-glazed 'three-string' vase, laifu zun, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722)

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Lot 916. A very rare peachbloom-glazed 'three-string' vase, laifu zun, Kangxi six-character mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1662-1722). Estimate USD 700,000 - USD 900,000. Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2016

The high-shouldered, tapering vase is molded with three bow-strings on the base of the trumpet-form neck, and is covered overall in a glaze of soft pink tone with red speckling on the body and inner mouth rim. 8 1/8 in. (20.6 cm.) high. 

Provenance: Mary Stillman Harkness (1874-1952) Collection.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, accessioned in 1950.

NotesSometimes referred to as a sanxuan zun (three string vase), this shape derives its name from the rings around the neck which recall the strings used on Chinese musical instruments. It is also called 'turnip-shaped vase'laifu zun, by Chinese scholars after the custom of naming porcelain forms after vegetables. 

Similar examples of this form are illustrated, one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by S. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, no. 231 and again in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Tokyo, 1983, vol. 15, pp. 34-35, fig. 27; one from the Freer Gallery of Art is illustrated by R.M. Chait, 'The Eight Prescribed Peachbloom Shapes Bearing the K'ang Hsi marks', published in Oriental Art, 1957, vol. 3, no. 4, p. 132; one from the Beijing Palace Museum in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 137, col. pl. 120; and one in the Min Chiu SocietyExhibition of Monochrome Ceramics, Hong Kong, 1977, no. 10. An example previously in the collection of Mrs. Yale Kneeland was sold at Christie's Hong Kong 7 July 2003, lot 564, and another formed part of the set of eight peachbloom-glazed vessels from the Jingguantang Collection, also sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 3 November 1996, lot 557.

Christie's. Collected in America: Chinese Ceramics from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1September 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza