Lot 111. A blue and white square 'dragons and figures' vase, zun, Mark and period of Wanli (1573-1619); 12.6 cm, 4 7/8 in. Estimate 400,000 — 600,000 HKD. Lot sold 450,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2016
of archaistic zun form, well potted of square section with an octagonal central section rising from a splayed foot to a flaring neck, each wide facet of the central section decorated with a solitary figure standing in a landscape detailed with lush vegetation, alternating with two lotus blooms on each short side, all between two bevelled borders picked out with stylised lingzhi scrolls, each side of the neck painted with a coiled ferocious dragon soaring next to a 'flaming pearl', the everted interior with further stylised lingzhi scrolls, all above a key-fret band skirting the footrim, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within a double-square.
Notes: This vase follows the shape of an ancient bronze zun, with careful attention to details such as the exaggerated trumpet-like rim. Although zun-shaped vases were made in large numbers during the Wanli reign, few examples of this square section form and decorated with scholars in landscape appear to have survived. A closely related vase was sold twice at Christie’s London, 15th December 1980, lot 124, and again, 10th April 1984, lot 515.
Vases of this type are also known decorated in the wucai palette, such as a vase in the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo, illustrated in Tōji taikei [Outlines of ceramics], vol. 43, Tokyo, 1960; another from the Edward T. Chow collection, sold in these rooms, 19th May 1981, lot 434; and a third, from the Tsui Art Foundation, published in Mayuyama, Seventy Years, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 928, and sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 31st May 2010, lot 1991.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art: The Collection of a Parisian Connoisseur, Part III. Hong Kong, 05 oct. 2016, 11:30 AM