A rare guan-type quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)

 

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Lot 3002. A rare guan-type quadruple vase, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 10 cm., 4 in. Estimate 250,000 — 350,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,660,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby's 2011

finely potted as four vases of slender cylindrical form with sides gently curving to a short neck and everted rim, conjoined at the sides leaving a square-shaped aperture in the centre, the bodies covered overall in a soft pale bluish-grey glaze suffused with a matrix of golden crackles, the four-character reign mark inscribed character by character on the bases.

Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 22nd May 1984, lot 185.

Note: A slightly smaller Yongzheng vase of closely related form and covered in a pale grey Guan-type glaze, with a reign mark and of the period, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Qingdai yuyao ciqi, vol. 1, pt. II, Beijing, 2005, pl. 149; and a larger example with a Ru-type glaze in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ch'ing Dynasty Porcelain. Kang-hsi Ware and Yung-cheng Ware, Tokyo, 1980, pl. 128. See also a similar vase from the James W. and Marilyn Alsdorf collection sold twice at Christie's Hong Kong, 23rd March 1993, lot 735, and again, 2ndNovember 1999, lot 524, from the Robert Chang collection; and a celadon-glazed example from the J.M. Hu collection, sold in our New York rooms, 4th June 1985, lot 4.

This unusual conjoined vase was first produced during the Yongzheng period and embodies the trend of combining innovation within tradition which characterised imperial objects created during his reign. The simple cylindrical form of the individual vases provide an ideal canvas on which to display the subtle beauty of the glaze that was made to imitate 'Guan' ware, one of the most celebrated ceramic wares of the Southern Song dynasty.

Sotheby's. Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, 08 Apr 11, Hong Kong