Lot 3066. A sky blue-glazed 'Bats and Clouds' vase, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period (1723-1735); 30.2 cm., 12 1/8 in. Estimate 600,000 — 800,000 HKD. Lot sold 1,180,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2013
of globular form, the generous rounded body rising to a broad waisted neck and a compressed bulb rim with incurved mouth, deftly carved around the exterior with eight bats fluttering among billows of clouds, between a band of petal lappets at the base and a collar of pendent ruyi around the shoulder, the neck collared by upright plantain leaves issuing from a border of key-fret, all below pendent trefoils encircling the mouthrim, skilfully applied overall with a pale sky-blue glaze thinning to white on the carved design and toward the rim, stopping neatly above the ridged footring, the latter left unglazed and dressed in a brown wash, the recessed base glazed sky blue.
Provenance: Collection of Thomas English Cody, US, formed during the 1930's.
Note: The present vase is closely related to a peacock-blue glazed vase with a floral design, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 149, where on p. 165, it is mentioned that the shape is inspired by archaic bronze zun. The attractive sky-blue glaze on this vase is a Yongzheng period innovation when a number of new shades of blue glazes were developed by using different amounts of finely ground cobalt to create paler and lighter shades. The Yongzheng Emperor was especially fond of monochrome wares, where shapes and colours became important factors in creating an aesthetically pleasing object.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Hong Kong, 08 april 2013