Lot 207. An underglaze blue and copper-red 'prunus' meiping, 18th century; 20 7/8 in. (53 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 70,000 - GBP 90,000. Price realised GBP 87,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2018.
The vase is decorated with a single flowering tree, the contours of the bark are skilfully executed in shades of cobalt blue. The branches which extend across the shoulder and body of the vase are laden with a multitude of copper-red prunus flowers. The rim and the foot are encircled with a double line.
Note: This unusually large and handsome vase is skilfully decorated in underglaze cobalt blue and copper red. The copper red has been well controlled and appears as a soft raspberry colour, which is particularly effective for the depiction of the plum blossoms. The painting style is unusually bold and painterly. The gnarled tree trunk is painted in vivid blue with textures sharply differentiated by varying depths of colour. The trunk twists and turns in such a way as to encourage visual comparison with a turbulent spring river – its flow quickened by added water from melting ice. This reminder of spring is in keeping with the plum blossoms, which in China were always regarded as a harbinger of spring. The roundness and delicacy of the blossoms is in pleasing contrast to angularity and dense colour of the trunk of the tree.
This vase has no minor bands, and the section of blossoming plum covers the whole of the body of the vessel. The style and layout of the decoration is reminiscent of that seen on scroll paintings, although in the case of the vase the design has been ingeniously adjusted to accommodate the vase’s curved surface. The effect is both artistic and powerful.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 15 May 2018 - SALE 15487