Lot 3716. A rare turquoise-ground white-enamelled wall vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795), 20.6 cm, 8 1/8 in. Estimate 450,000 — 550,000 HKD. Lot sold 562,500 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's.
the flattened pear-shaped body rising from a short foot to a waisted cylindrical neck flaring at the rim, flanked by a pair of iron-red and gilt phoenix handles in openwork, the front painted in a white slip with a pair of addorsed kui dragons clambering amongst scrolling lotuses, above a band of lappets, the rim encircled by a spearhead border and the foot with keyfret, all against an opaque pale turquoise ground save for a square at the base inscribed with an iron-red four-character seal mark, the rim and the footring gilt.
Provenance: Sotheby's Paris, 15th December 2011, lot 175.
Note: It is rare to find the delicate lace-like decoration of white enamel over a turquoise ground on Qianlong vessels. A shallow bowl decorated with bats amongst a lotus scroll, in the Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p. 265; a double vase, adorned with shou characters and lotus scrolls and similarly inscribed with four-character iron-red reign marks, was sold in our rooms, 8th April 2013, lot 3031; and a tall ovoid vase, with a six-character iron-red Qianlong reign mark and of the period, was offered at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th April 2002, lot 671.
A rare white enamel turquoise-glazed double vase, seal marks and period of Qianlong, 18.3 cm., 7 1/4 in. Sold for 1,480,000 HKD at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8th April 2013, lot 3031. Photo: Sotheby's.
The innovation of wall vases can be traced back to at least the Ming dynasty. They were used to hold flowers in indoor settings as well as inside sedan chairs. A wall vase hanging on the interior of a sedan chair is depicted in the painting An Ice Game by Jin Kun, Cheng Zhidao and Fu Longan, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Paintings by the Court Artists of the Qing Court, Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 61.