A rare blue and white vase, hu, mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)



Lot 1875. A rare blue and white vase, hu, Mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 25.5 cm., 10 in. Estimate 800,000 — 1,200,000 HKD. Lot Sold 2,060,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby's 2010

the pear-shaped body painted with dense stylized lotus scrolls, the central lotus on each side painted with a shou character in the center of the bloom, all above a band of petal lappets around the base and a foliate scroll on the splayed foot, the shoulders set with a pair of moulded ring handles and tassels decorated with a wan emblem, the waisted neck painted with a ruyi-head border below a flared mouth with a wheel and foliate scroll border, the base inscribed with the six-character mark within double-circles.

Note: It is very rare to find a blue and white vase of this shape and decoration; compare a Yongzheng vase of this form and size, but with a lotus scroll band on the body and the neck decorated with stiff leaves rising from a key-fret border, flanked by moulded ringed mask handles, sold twice in these rooms, 6th APril 1976, lot 145, and 25th November 1981, lot 230. The high level of technical and artistic achievement of craftsmen working during the Yongzheng reign is evident in the brilliant hues of cobalt, which have been applied using the 'heaping and piling' technique to create a stippled effect in imitation of early-Ming blue and white ware. The glossy sheen of the pristine white porcelain body further enhances the intensity of tones of the fifteenth-century style lotus scroll, which also derives from early-Ming decorative innovations. 

Vases of this type that combine Ming designs with Chinese bronze shapes 'alien to the fifteenth-century' belong to a group of Qianlong blue and white wares discussed by Julian Thompson in 'Decorative Motifs on Blue and White in the S.C. Ko Collection', Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, pt. II, Hong Kong, 1987, p. 31.

For a Yongzheng vase of related form and handles imitating rings with trailing ribbons, but covered in a flambé glaze, see one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in qingdai yuyao ciqi, vol. 1, pt. II, Beijing, 2005, pl. 140; and another sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 25th October 1993, lot 805. Compare also a similarly shaped vase with loop handles, decorated with bands of famille-rose floral designs on blue and yellow sgraffiato grounds, the body with a circular landscape medallion, with Qianlong reign mark and of the period, in the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, included in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains with Cloisonné Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 160.

Sotheby's. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS & WORKS OF ART, Hong Kong, 08 Apr 2010