Lot 339. A large Ming-style blue and white moonflask, Qianlong seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1736-1795);19½ in. (49.5 cm.) high. Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 300,000. Price realised USD 384,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2007
The convex sides well painted with eight petals enclosing the bajixiang radiating from a raised central boss decorated with a flowerhead, the narrow sides decorated with a band of stylized lotus scroll and the neck, which is flanked by leaf scroll handles, decorated with lingzhi scroll, which is repeated on the foot, all in underglaze blue with simulated 'heaping and piling'.
Provenance: Col. Lord Barnard, T.D.; Christie's, London, 28 July 1975, lot 118.
Literature: Catherine Lucy Wilheming, Duchess of Cleveland, Handbook for Raby Castle, 1870, pl. 115.
Exhibited: Chinese Art from Private Collections in Michigan, Meadow Brook Art Gallery, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, 27 January - 3 March 1985, no. 56.
Note: Similar large moon flasks are illustrated in Zhongguo Li Dai Jingdezhen Ci Qi - Qing Juan, Beijing, 1998, p. 169, from the Nanjing Museum; by M. Beurdeley and G. Raindre, Qing Porcelain, London, 1987, pl. 154, formerly in the Edward Chow Collection; in Sekai toji zenzhu, vol. 15, Tokyo, 1983, pl. 150, col. pl. 151; and in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum, Blue and White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Book II, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 15. See, also, the example sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 30 May 2006, lot 1239.
The shape of these large Qianlong flasks is based on Ming dynasty fifteenth century prototypes, which had a convex side that was decorated and a flat unglazed back with a countersunk medallion in the center. For a Yongle (1403-24) example see the flask in the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, Tokyo, vol. 9, 1981, no. 94. These fifteenth century blue and white porcelain flasks were themselves based on silver-inlaid brass prototypes.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York, 22 March 2007