A finely painted blue and white baluster jar,guan, Yuan dynasty, mid-14th century

Lot 1985. A finely painted blue and white baluster jar,guan, Yuan dynasty, mid-14th century; 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 2,800,000 - HKD 3,500,000. Price Realized HKD 6,500,000 © Christie's Images Ltd 2010

Boldly painted in a deep, rich cobalt blue with extensive heaping and piling with a wide band of foliate scroll, the undulating stems bearing spiky leaves and six large peony blossoms alternately shown in profile and turned forward, with a band of petal lappets below and a composite foliate scroll above, the slightly tapering neck encircled by a delicate band of 'blackberry lily' scroll below the moulded mouth rim, all within double-line borders.

ProvenanceThe Jingguantang Collection, Part II, sold at Christie's New York, 20 March 1997, lot 69 

ExhibitedGems of Chinese Art, The Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1992, Catalogue no. 73
Art Treasures from Shanghai and Hong Kong, The University of Hong Kong, 9 November 1996 - 25 January 1997, Catalogue no. 43

NoteA few Yuan dynasty jars decorated with this peony design are published. The present jar is among a group that is considered to be successfully fired resulting in its bright sapphire-blue colour and well rendered in its painting style. This same decorative pattern, also with the 'blackberry lily' band encircling the short neck, is found on a slightly smaller jar (27.2 cm.) in the Tokyo National Museum, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, the World's Great Collections, Kodansha Series, vol. 1, 1982, no. 111. Compare with three other jars of similar size but all with a band of 'breaking waves' design encircling the short neck instead. The first jar is illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, Shogakukan Series, vol. 13, fig. 123; the second, in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated by Wang Qingzheng, Underglaze Blue and Red, 1987, p. 38, no. 22; and the third was sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 24 October 1993, lot 716.

Another group of peony jars decorated with a band of classic scrolls below the main band of peony scroll are published. Cf. a jar found in 1979 at Yenjialing, Baotou City, Inner Mongolia, included in the exhibition, The Silk Road, The Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1991, p. 139; and another was included in the Exhibition of Oriental Ceramics, Tokyo National Museum, 1978, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 61.

Christie's. The Imperial Sale Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 31 May 2010, Hong Kong