A fine blue and white hexagonal vase, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795)



Lot 1920. A fine blue and white hexagonal vase, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 66 cm., 26 in. Estimate 7,000,000 — 9,000,000 HKD (674,841 — 867,652 EUR). Lot sold 17,460,000 HKD (1,683,245 EUR). Photo: Sotheby's.

of hexagonal section, supported on a splayed foot, set with a waisted trumpet neck of conforming section, the sides well painted in brilliant tones of cobalt blue with simulated 'heaping and piling' with boughs of pomegranate, peach and persimmon alternating with flowering branches, decorated with spandrels painted as spiky lotus scrolls, springing from linked trefoils encircling the base and pendant ruyi border around the shoulder, the neck and foot similarly painted with floral sprays divided by matching spandrels, the countersunk base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character reign mark.

Provenance: Sotheby's Hong Kong, 30th April 1991, lot 73.
A Private Collection, Hong Kong. 
A Private Collection, London.

LiteratureSotheby's Hong Kong - Twenty Years, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 166.

Note: Vases of this type are impressive for their large yet elegant form which is finely decorated in attractive clusters of scrolling motifs. The design was first produced in the Yongzheng period (1723-1735) and became one of the the most favoured designs of all the large blue and white vases made for the palaces. A closely related example in the Nanjing Museum is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 212; one is published in Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1975, pl. 102; another, sold in these rooms, 20th May 1981, lot 764, is included in Geng Baochang, ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 274, pl. 469; and a fourth example, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th April 1998, lot 724, is published in Julian Thompson, The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, pl. 36. A pair of vases, from the collection of General Field Marshall Alfred, Count von Waldersee, was sold in our London rooms, 12th July 2006, lot 116.

For the Yongzheng prototype of this design, see a vase from the Grandidier collection and now in the Musee Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 164.

The craftsman of this vase has carefully attempted to imitate the mottled 'heaping and piling' effect of the celebrated early 15th century blue and white wares through a deliberate application of darker spots to the design. In a display of his proficiency in the cobalt blue medium, the re-creation is particularly subtle and close to the original.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art. Hong Kong. 05 Oct 2011