Lot 3212. A reserve-decorated blue and white 'Hundred Cranes' jar, Wanli six-character mark within double circles and of the period (1573-1619), 14 in. (35.2 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 1,000,000 - HKD 1,500,000. Price realised HKD 1,480,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013
Of ovoid form, the sturdily potted jar stands on a recessed base below a short neck with a lipped rim. The exterior is profusely painted with cranes in flight amidst clouds against a blue ground below a classic scroll encircling the neck. The base is unglazed with the exception of the recessed centre which is painted with a six-character mark within double circles, Japanese wood box.
Provenance: Important Japanese and Chinese Art from the Collection of The Manno Art Museum, sold at Christie's London, 21 June 2001, lot 91
Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2008, lot 1861
Note: Cranes, as symbol of longevity, were a popular motif on Chinese ceramics. The design on the present jar known as 'hundred cranes', was therefore particularly auspicious. Reserve-decorated design was a feature of mid-Yuan and Xuande wares, but it fell from use during the later 15th century and early 16th, and became popular again in the Jiajing and Wanli periods, particularly those of birds and floral motifs.
A similar jar is in the collection of Shanghai Museum, illustrated by Lu Minghua in Studies of the Shanghai Museum Collections, Ming Dynasty Ceramics, p. 57, fig 1-75. Compare also to two similar jars in private collections, one was included in the Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Ceramics from the Collection of the Kau Chi Society of Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 1981, Catalogue, no. 88, the other was included in Enlightening Elegance: Imperial Porcelain of the Mid to Late Ming, The Huaihaitang Collection, Hong Kong 2012, Catalogue, no. 121. Another example was sold at Christie's New York, 15 September 2009, lot 351.
A rare large blue and white 'Shou'-character jar, Wanli six-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle and of the period (1573-1619), 18 7/8 in. (48. cm.) high. Sold for USD 146,500 at Christie's New York, 15 September 2009, lot 351. © Christie's Images Ltd 2009
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 10 May 2011, London