Lot 506. A wucai 'lotus pond' garlic-mouth vase, mark and period of Wanli (1573-1619); 45 cm, 17 3/4 in. Estimate 1,200,000 — 1,500,000 HKD ( 124,029 — 155,037 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.
the pear-shaped body sweeping up from a gently splayed foot to a tall waisted neck and a garlic-mouth, painted with mandarin ducks, herons and various birds in a pond flourishing with lotus, reed and other aquatic plants, the neck decorated with butterflies among flower sprays, all below a row of pendent plantain leaves, the rim inscribed with a six-character reign mark.
Note: Wucai wares of the Wanli period represent one of the most sumptuous type of wares of the Ming dynasty, and are characterised by vibrant designs in vivid colours. The present vase, which derives its form from bronze originals, is magnificent in size and belongs to a group of wucai wares of the same shape and decorated with a variety of designs. The design of mandarin ducks in a pond was first introduced into the court during the Yuan dynasty, a subject which was adopted by the Ming rulers in their imperial designs.
A pair of closely related vases, from the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, was included in the exhibition Imperial Overglaze-Enamelled Wares in the Late Ming Dynasty, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, 1995, cat. no. 22; and another was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 13th January 1987, lot 546. Similar vases, but the mouth decorated with strings of beads and the shoulder with a band of ruyi heads, include one in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Yeh Pei-Lang, Gems of the Wucai Porcelain, Taipei, 1996, pl. 83; another published in John Ayers, The Baur Collection, vol. 2, Geneva, 1969, pl. A203; two vases sold in these rooms, the first, 23rd October, 2005, lot 456, the second, 8th April 2007, lot 525; and another sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 6th November 1997, lot 1050.
Compare also a vase included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935, cat. no. 1912, and in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Polychrome Porcelain of the Ming and Manchu Dynasties, London, 1950, cat. no. 154, sold in our London rooms, 24th March 1953, lot 62; and another sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 5th/6th November 1997, lot 1050.
Sotheby's. Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 31 May 2018, 11:15 AM