06 octobre 2017

A large blue and white hexagonal vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong

A large blue and white hexagonal vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong

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Lot 3614. A large blue and white hexagonal vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795), 65 cm, 25 5/8  inEstimate 6,000,000 — 8,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 10,900,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's.

sturdily potted of hexagonal section, the baluster body supported on a splayed foot, set with a waisted trumpet neck of conforming section, the sides well painted in brilliant tones of cobalt blue with simulated 'heaping and piling' with boughs of pomegranate, peach and persimmon alternating with flowering branches, decorated with spandrels painted as spiky lotus scrolls, springing from linked trefoils encircling the foot and pendent ruyi border around the shoulder, the neck and foot similarly painted with floral sprays divided by matching spandrels, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character seal mark.

NoteThe motif of this finely painted vase derives from early Ming blue and white porcelain. Fruiting and flowering branches first appeared on underglaze-blue porcelain during the Yongle reign, a time when the potters at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen achieved enormous developments in the refinement of materials and expansion of the decorative repertoire. Blue and white vases of meiping form decorated with related fruiting and flowering branches are among the most characteristic products of the Yongle period; for examples, see a vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, vol. 1, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 30, and another offered in this sale, lot 3620. Even the mottled cobalt ‘heaping and piling’ effect of the fifteenth century originals was painstakingly reproduced by the Qing craftsmen in a display of their proficiency over the pigment.

Like many other blue and white wares of the early Ming period, this design was reinvented and transformed during the Yongzheng Emperor’s reign before becoming one of the favourites of the Qianlong Emperor. A new life has been breathed into the Qing versions through the hexagonal form and the inclusion of European-style elements such as the scrolls on the corner edges and the stems of flowers around the neck. The familiar traditional Chinese motifs coupled with the secondary European-style designs not only provide an attractive aesthetic but also firmly celebrate the imperial authority of Qing China. 

A closely related example in the Nanjing Museum is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 212; one is published in Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1975, pl. 102; another, sold twice in these rooms, 30th April 1991, lot 73, and 5th October 2011, lot 1920, is included in Sotheby's Hong Kong - Twenty Years, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 166; one, sold in these rooms, 20th May 1981, lot 764 and illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding [Appraisal of Ming and Qing porcelain], Hong Kong, 1993, p. 274, fig. 469; and a fifth example, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th April 1998, lot 724, is published in Julian Thompson, The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, pl. 36. A pair of vases, from the collection of General Field Marshall Alfred, Count von Waldersee, was sold in our London rooms, 12th July 2006, lot 116. For the Yongzheng prototype, see a vase from the Grandidier collection and now in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 164. The similarity between the vases of the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods suggests the present vase was produced early in the Qianlong Emperor's reign.

A fine blue and white hexagonal vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong

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A fine blue and white hexagonal vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795), 66 cm., 26 in. Estimate 7,000,000 — 9,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 17,460,000 HKD at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 5th October 2011, lot 1920. Photo: Sotheby's.

of hexagonal section, supported on a splayed foot, set with a waisted trumpet neck of conforming section, the sides well painted in brilliant tones of cobalt blue with simulated 'heaping and piling' with boughs of pomegranate, peach and persimmon alternating with flowering branches, decorated with spandrels painted as spiky lotus scrolls, springing from linked trefoils encircling the base and pendant ruyi border around the shoulder, the neck and foot similarly painted with floral sprays divided by matching spandrels, the countersunk base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark.

Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 30th April 1991, lot 73.
A Private Collection, Hong Kong. 
A Private Collection, London.

LiteratureSotheby's Hong Kong - Twenty Years, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 166.

Note: Vases of this type are impressive for their large yet elegant form which is finely decorated in attractive clusters of scrolling motifs. The design was first produced in the Yongzheng period (1723-1735) and became one of the the most favoured designs of all the large blue and white vases made for the palaces. A closely related example in the Nanjing Museum is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 212; one is published in Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1975, pl. 102; another, sold in these rooms, 20th May 1981, lot 764, is included in Geng Baochang, ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 274, pl. 469; and a fourth example, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th April 1998, lot 724, is published in Julian Thompson, The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, pl. 36. A pair of vases, from the collection of General Field Marshall Alfred, Count von Waldersee, was sold in our London rooms, 12th July 2006, lot 116.

For the Yongzheng prototype of this design, see a vase from the Grandidier collection and now in the Musee Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 164.

The craftsman of this vase has carefully attempted to imitate the mottled 'heaping and piling' effect of the celebrated early 15th century blue and white wares through a deliberate application of darker spots to the design. In a display of his proficiency in the cobalt blue medium, the re-creation is particularly subtle and close to the original.

A fine pair of blue and white hexagonal vases, seal mark and period of Qianlong

A fine pair of blue and white hexagonal vases, seal mark and period of Qianlong, 66.5cm., 26 1/4 in., and 65.5cm., 25 3/4 in. Estimate 200,000 — 300,000 GBP. Lot sold 702,400 GBP at Sotheby's London, 12th July 2006, lot 116. Photo: Sotheby's.

each stoutly potted of flattened baluster form, painted around the body in rich tones of cobalt-blue with simulated 'heaping and piling' with alternating branches of peach, lotus, pomegranate, persimmon, lingzhi and chrysanthemum, within elaborate lappet and scroll borders, within further borders of key-fret and lattice work, the waisted neck similarly decorated with floral sprigs, all beneath a key-fret band around the neck hung with scrolling pendants. Quantity: 2

Provenance: Collection of General Field-Marshall Alfred, Count von Waldersee (1832-1904), thence by descent.

NoteAll blue-and-white porcelain for the Imperial Palace was produced at Jingdezhen because it had to be painted before being glazed and fired and only the Jingdezhen potters had the technical ability to do this. To produce faultless wares of this very large size was, however, a challenge even for these experienced craftsmen.

A Qianlong vase of this design, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 20th May 1981, lot 764, is illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 274, pl. 469; another also sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 30th April 1991, lot 73, is published in Sotheby's Twenty Years 1973-1993, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 166; and a third example in Tokyo is included in Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1975, pl. 102. 

Compare also the Yongzheng prototype of this design in the Musee Guimet, Paris, from the Grandidier collection, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics.The World's Great Collection, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 164.   

Count von Waldersee (1832-1904) was born into an eminent Prussian family. In the footsteps of family tradition he entered the Guard Artillery in 1850 and became military attache in Paris and aide-de-camp to King William of Prussia in 1870. He was awarded the First Class of the Iron Cross after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and was appointed German representative in Paris after the war. In 1881 he received the rank of Field Marshall. With the out-break of the Boxer Rebellion in Beijing in 1900, Count von Waldersee was appointed as Supreme Commander of the joint expeditionary force of Western nations sent to relieve the besieged foreign legations in Beijing. 

Grand vase octogonal, règne de Yongzheng (1723-1735)

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Grand vase octogonal, règne de Yongzheng (1723-1735), porcelaine, décor bleu et blanc. Hauteur : 67,5 cm. Diamètre : 22,8 cm. Ancienne collection Ernest Grandidier. Paris, musée Guimet - musée national des Arts asiatiques, G4127Photo © RMN-Grand Palais (MNAAG, Paris) / Thierry Ollivier

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 03 Oct 2017


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