Lot 90. A fine blue and white vase (meiping), Ming dynasty, 15th century; height 12 1/8 in., 30.8 cm. Estimate 30,000—50,000 USD. Lot Sold 362,500 USD. photo Sotheby's 2011
well potted with high rounded shoulders surmounted by a short waisted neck with cupped rim, painted around the body in tones of deep cobalt-blue with the 'Three Friends of Winter', pine, prunus and bamboo, all between double-line borders, the base encircled by a band of upright overlapping lotus leaves, the shoulders collared by a band of lappets, the base unglazed.
Note: It is unusual to find a meiping of this period decorated with the 'Three Friends of Winter". More commonly, meiping are decorated with figural or floral compositions. The "Three Friends of Winter" are comprised of bamboo whose characteristic pliancy can withstand strong winds without breaking; the pine tree, green throughout the year and famous for its longevity and strength and the prunus which blossoms early in the spring and lives longest of the flowering fruit trees. The three plants in combination symbolize the ideal person and relationship with flexibility, strength, resilience, productivity and longevity.
Sotheby's. Informing the Eye of the Collector: Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art from J.T. Tai & Co. 22 Mar 11. New York