Lot 1635. A fine and rare archaistic celadon glazed meiping, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 28.3 cm., 11 1/8 in. Estimate 8,000,000 — 12,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 15,220,000 HKD. Photo: Sotheby's 2009.
elegantly proportioned, the ovoid body with rounded shoulders set with three small upright rings, tapering to a slightly splayed foot, and surmounted by a tall cylindrical neck with a flared mouth, the classic design embellished with three sets of three horizontal fillets encircling the shoulders, waist and just above the foot, applied overall in an unblemished celadon glaze, thinning at the raised bands and pooling in the recesses, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark.
Note: Skilfully crafted with a smooth, subtle celadon glaze that pools at the concentric horizontal bands to accentuate the elegant form, the present vase is extremely rare and the only other example of this form, size and glaze is in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Qing Dynasty Imperial Kiln Porcelain, Beijing, 2005, cat. no. 154. A much larger Yongzheng vase of this type sold in these rooms, 7th May 2002, lot 510; and a smaller robin's-egg glazed example in the Nanjing Museum, is published in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p. 203.
From the first year of his reign, the Yongzheng emperor commissioned items from the Palace Workshops, whose output changed in nature as a result. Antiques in the Palace collection were used as standards for quality, models for archaistic designs and as inspiration for innovation. Simplicity of form and absence of decoration were stylistic trends introduced by Tang Ying (1682-1756), Superintendent of the Imperial kilns in Jingdezhen, and also endorsed by the Emperor. The fresh modernity of this vase, with its allusion to archaic bronze forms and designs in its harmonious form and moulded bands, is an excellent example of the deceptive minimalism that would have demanded the highest level of aesthetic conception and technical ability from the potters.
For Qianlong vases of this form and covered with a 'guan'-type glaze, see one in the Hong Kong Museum of Art, included in the exhibition The Wonders of the Potter's Palette, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1984, cat. no. 80; another, formerly in the T.Y. Chao Collection, sold in these rooms, 19th May 1987, lot 288; and a Jiaqing example, with reign mark and of the period, sold in these rooms 8th April 2007, lot 717. Compare also a Qianlong teadust glazed vase in the Idemitsu Museum, Tokyo, illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1987, pl. 963.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, Hong Kong, 08 Oct 2009