A small robin's egg glazed vase, hu, 18th century


Lot 9. A small robin's egg glazed vase, hu, 18th century; 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 6,000 - GBP 8,000 (USD 8,370 - USD 11,160)Price realised GBP 8,125. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018

The vase is decorated overall in an attractive mottled blue and turquoise glaze, with a pair of animal mask handles to the neck.

ProvenanceSotheby's London, 12 June 1990, lot 291

NoteAdvances in technology and experimentation at the Imperial kilns during the 18th century led to the introduction of various new intriguing monochrome glazes. The 'Robin's-Egg' glaze is generally thought to have been developed as a free interpretation of Song dynasty Jun glazes and reflects the contemporary interest in producing glazes that were both attractive in colour but also innovative in their use of texture. The extraordinary effect of the robin's-egg glaze is achieved with the use of copper and arsenic as an opacifier to create an opaque stippled turquoise glaze.

The small size of the current vase is reminiscent of the appreciation of miniature works of art during the 18th century and reflects the Qianlong emperor's tastes. Compare this piece to a vase of similar hu form with animal head loop handles but of larger size, dated to the Qianlong period (1736-1795) sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27 May 2009, lot 1895.

Christie's. Rarity and Refinement: Treasures from a Distinguished East Asian Collection, London, 15 May 2018 - SALE 16837