Lot 1117. A 'powder blue'-glazed bottle vase, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Estimate 300,000 — 400,000 HKD. Lot sold 525,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's.
finely modelled of harmonious proportion, the spherical body rising from a short foot to a tall slender cylindrical neck and gently flared rim, the exterior applied with a rich powder-blue glaze mottled with attractive blue speckles, with traces of pencilled gilt decoration depicting phoenix and clouds to the globular body and a frieze of Buddhist lions and floral blooms to the shoulder, all below upright plantain lappets encircling the neck; 41.9 cm, 16 1/2 in.
Provenance: Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), no. 1301.
J.J. Lally & Co., New York.
Literature: Stephen W. Bushell and William M. Laffan, Catalogue of the Morgan Collection of Chinese Porcelains, vol. 2, New York, 1907, pl. CX.
Note: Generally referred to as ‘powder blue’, the attractive cobalt glaze on this piece was probably inspired by the so-called ‘snowflake’ blue glaze found on wares of the Xuande reign. The mottled effect was produced by blowing cobalt through a piece of bamboo with a gauze over the end. Wares covered in this glaze were either left undecorated or were painted in gilt over the glaze, as seen on this piece.
Numerous powder-blue vases of the Kangxi period with traces of gilding are in the Palace Museum, Beijing, including a vase of similar form illustrated in Compendium of Collections in the Palace Museum. Ceramics, vol. 23, Shunzhi and Kangxi Periods of Qing Dynasty (III), Beijing, 2013, pl. 79; one sold at Christie’s New York, 4th December 1982, lot 525; another sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 8th June 1986, lot 379; and a fourth vase sold at Christie’s London, 16th November 1981, lot 10. See also a vase of similar form but slightly larger in size, covered in a crackled light blue glaze, illustrated in The Freer Gallery of Art. I China, Washington D.C., 1972, pl. 129.
Sotheby's. Chinese Art from Two American Private Collections, Hong Kong, 05 Apr 2017, 10:30 AM