Lot 349. A quadrangular famille-verte 'Deer' vase, Qing dynasty, Kangxi period (1662-1722). Height 20 in., 50.8 cm. Estimate 30,000 — 50,000. © Sotheby's
the stoutly potted square-section body with tapered rectangular sides supporting a waisted cylindrical neck and everted rim, each side painted in bright enamels with deer frolicking beneath towering pines in vertiginous landscapes, the stags, doe, and fawn variously nibbling lingzhi and leaves, nestling in the grasses, and ambling along banks and footbridges, the shoulder with four large polychrome butterflies amidst prunus blossom against a speckled green ground, the neck with a solitary figure sitting on a riverbank contemplating the surrounding mountainous landscape, the partially unglazed foot centered with a recessed square with a beribboned artemisia leaf in underglaze-blue, coll. no. 363.
The Jie Rui Tang Collection.
Provenance: Alberto Varela Santos, London, 2002.
Note: 'Hundred deer' vases in famille-verte enamels are unusual and no other example of the present form is known. Successful potting of square forms was a notorious challenge. Square-section porcelain vases first appear in the late Ming dynasty. In order to survive the firing, thicker walls were required to reinforce lute lines. The Kangxi period rendering of this ambitious form attests to the confidence and technical prowess of the potters who not only rose to the challenge of the form but surpassed earlier versions with longer tapering sides joined by clean right angles and surmounted by a gently flaring cylindrical mouth. A related famille-verte enameled vase of the same form, but with bird and flower decoration, bearing an apocryphal Jiajing mark, in the Shanghai Museum Collection is illustrated in Kangxi Porcelain Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 103.