A rare Longquan celadon conjoined vase, Ming dynasty (1368-1644) 

A rare Longquan celadon conjoined vase, Ming dynasty (1368-1644) 

Lot 2244. A rare Longquan celadon conjoined vase, Ming dynasty (1368-1644); 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm.) highEstimate HKD 500,000 - HKD 600,000Price realised HKD 1,050,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013

The two cylindrical vases are conjoined and linked by a moulded frontal dragon on one side, and on the other with a phoenix with outspread wings. The vase is carved around the body with a diamond diaper ground enclosing wan symbols between bands of florettes. The tapering necks are moulded to one side with the apocryphal Northern Song reign markJianzhong Jingguo, and on the other with the characters Dingwei nianzao, 'Made in the year of Dingwei', all covered in a milky greyish-green glaze, stand.

ExhibitedRijksmuseum, Oosterse schatten : 4000 jaar Aziatische kunst (Oriental Treasures: 4000 Years of Asian Art), Amsterdam, 3 July-10 October 1954  

NoteThe shape of this vase is based on the Zhou archaic bronze vessel known as 'nuptial' cup, hejinbei, used in ancient times as a ritual wine vessel during the wedding ceremony. The double cylinders were filled with wine to be drunk by the bride and groom as part of the marriage rites, and the decoration of dragon and phoenix on the current vase reinforces the marital theme. Longquan wares of this shape are extremely rare, and no other examples appear to have been published.  

Christie's. Imperial Sale; Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 29 May 2013, Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall