A large Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

Lot 746. A large Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong period (1736-1795); 19 in. (48.3 cm.) high. Estimate USD 100,000 - USD 150,000Price realised USD 564,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018

The vase is decorated in rich underglaze blue with simulated 'heaping and piling' on the convex sides with eight petals enclosing the bajixiang (Eight Buddhist Emblems) radiating from a central boss decorated with a flower head, on the narrow sides with a band of stylized lotus scroll, and withlingzhi scroll on the slightly spreading rectangular foot and on the neck between the pair of blue-glazed, leaf-scroll handles below a bow-string border and a band of key fret at the rim.

Provenance: Earle D. Vandekar, London

Note: The shape of these large Qianlong flasks is based on Ming-dynasty fifteenth-century prototypes, which had one decorated, convex side and a flat, unglazed side with a countersunk medallion in the center. For a Yongle (1403-1424) example, see the flask in the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 9, Tokyo, 1981, no. 94. These fifteenth-century blue and white flasks were themselves based on silver-inlaid brass prototypes. 

For other similar Qianlong blue and white vases see Zhongguo Li Dai Jingdezhen Ci Qi - Qing Juan, Beijing, 1998, p. 169, from the Nanjing Museum; Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 15, Tokyo, 1983, pl. 151; M. Beurdeley and G. Raindre, Qing Porcelain, London, 1987, pl. 154, formerly in the Edward Chow Collection; and Porcelain of the National Palace Museum, Blue and White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Book II, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 15. One is illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art: Chinese Ceramics IV - Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1995, pl. 75. And another from the Robert Murray Bell and Ann Walker Bell Collection is illustrated by P. F. Ferguson, Cobalt Treasures, Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, 2003, no. 28. See, also, two examples sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 May 2014, lot 3439 and 1 December 2010, lot 2826.

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A large Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong period (1736-1795); 20 in. (50.8 cm.) high. Sold for HK$6,040,000 ($782,437) at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 May 2014, lot 3439. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014

Cf. my post: A large Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong period (1736-1795)

A fine Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795)

From the Greenwald Collection, no. 58. A fine Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795); 19 1/2 in. (49 cm.) high. Sold for HKD 18,580,000 at Christie's Hong Kong, 1 December 2010, lot 2826. © Christie's Images Ltd 2010.

Painted to each side in cobalt blue tones with eight radiating lotus petal-shaped panels enclosing the bajixiang around a central raised boss with a stylised flowerhead, divided by keyfret and lappet bands, all within a key-fret border, the flat sides with a wide band of leafy scroll issuing lotus blossoms, the neck and foot with bands of lingzhi scroll beneath a keyfret band to the rim, the cylindrical neck flanked by scroll handles.

Provenance: C.G. Sloan & Co., Washington D.C., February 1981
Greenwald Collection, no. 58

Literature: Gerald M. Greenwald, The Greenwald Collection, Two Thousand Years of Chinese Ceramics, 1996, Catalogue, no. 58 

Note: Compare with other examples illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 15, Tokyo, 1983, no. 151; in Blue and White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Porcelain in the National Palace Museum, vol. 2, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 15; in Chinese Ceramics in The Idemitsu Collection, Japan, 1987; and in Qing Porcelain, M. Beurdeley and G. Raindre, Fribourg, 1987, pl. 154.

Other examples were sold at Christie's New York, 2 June 1989, lot 81 from the Eugene O. Perkins Collection of Qing Porcelain; another moonflask sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2006, lot 1239; and another example sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2010, lot 1802. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 22 - 23 March 2018, New York