Lot 2053. A rare Ming-style blue and white moonflask, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 46 cm., 18 in. Estimate 1,000,000 — 1,500,000 HKD (96,406 — 144,609 EUR). Lot Sold 2,900,000 HKD (279,577 EUR). Courtesy Sotheby's.
of flattened globular form set with a tall waisted neck flanked by a pair of dragon handles, painted to either side in vivid cobalt blue with undulating composite floral scrolls, between pendant trefoils and upright stylised lappets, all below a band of plantain leaves, the mouth and foot encircled by bands of cresting waves, the underside inscribed with a six-character reign mark.
Provenance: Christie's Hong Kong, 1st October 1991, lot 958.
Note: A closely related example is illustrated in Chinese Porcelain: the S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong, 1987, pl. 65; another was sold in our New York rooms, 20th September 2000, lot 124, and again in these rooms, 2nd May 2005, lot 650; and a third example was sold in these rooms, 17th May 1988, lot 183.
The form of this moonflask derives from early 15th century prototypes which were decorated with dragons. This celebrated early Ming period style is further referenced in the 'heaping and 'piling' technique of applying the cobalt to simulate the mottled effect of the original.