A fine blue glazed bottle vase, Mark and Period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)

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Lot 1631. A fine blue glazed bottle vase, Mark and Period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 27 cm., 10 5/8 in. Estimate 3,800,000 — 4,500,000 HKD. Lot Sold 5,780,000 HKD. photo Sotheby's 2009

well potted with an ovoid body set with broad sloping shoulders tapering sharply to a splayed foot, surmounted by a tall cylindrical neck sweeping up to a cupped mouth, the neck collared by a pair of raised horizontal fillets, covered overall in a rich and deep indigo blue, the interior and base glaze white, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within double-circles.

NoteElegantly proportioned and covered in a brilliantly intense blue glaze, the present vase is extremely rare and the only other monochrome example appears to be a red-glazed vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Qing Dynasty Imperial Kiln Porcelain, Beijing, 2005, cat. no. 10. The form of this piece is inspired by Song bottles of compressed globular form and similar horizontal ribs on the neck; for example see three vases published in the Illustrated Catalogue of Sung Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum. Southern Sung Kuan Ware, Taipei, 1974, pls. 17, 18 and 22. The inspiration for these Song wares may have come from metal water flasks or bottles of the period. The Yongzheng emperor was a great admirer of Song ceramics, and wares imitating Song glazes and shapes were made in quantities in the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen. This vase is a fine example of the adaptation of a Song form to suit contemporary taste. The proportions have been changed to make the vase appear light and balanced while still invoking a sense of the past.

This form is better known in Yongzheng wares imitating Song glazes; see a Yongzheng mark and period vase covered with a crackled Guan-type glaze, and three small rams above the foot, illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection. Chinese Ceramics, vol. 3, Geneva, 1972, pl. A 348; and another Ge-type glazed example, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Kangxi. Yongzheng. Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 257, pl. 86. Compare also a flambé-glazed vase of similar shape, from the collections of W.W. Winkworth and the British Rail Pension Fund, sold in our London rooms, 12th December 1972, lot 171, again in these rooms, 16th May 1989, lot 64, and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 2nd November 1999, lot 512, from the collection from Robert Chang.

A related vase of this form and deep blue glaze, with a Jiaqing mark on the inset base, was sold in these rooms, 27th May 1978, lot 542, and again at Christie's New York, 1st June 1979, lot 107. Compare also Yongzheng vases of the same form but decorated in underglaze blue with dragons on a wave ground, such as one from the Qing Court collection, and still in Beijing, illustrated in Qingdai yu taoci qi, vol. 1, Beijing, 2006, pl. 2; another, from the collection of Robert Chang, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 2nd November 1999, lot 513; and a third, originally in the collection of W.W. Winkworth and now in the Au Bak Ling collection, sold in our London rooms, 12th December 1972, lot 99, and again in these rooms, 31st October 1974, lot 198. See another Yongzheng example in blue and white in the current sale, lot 1697.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. 08 Oct 09. Hong Kong