Lot 325. A rare blue and white sleeve vase, Transitional period, circa 1650; 16¾ in. (42.5 cm.) high. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000. Price realised USD 48,000© Christie's Images Ltd 2007.

Well painted in bright tones of underglaze blue with Zhongkui shown seated on a stag stubbornly bracing its legs as a demon yanks on its halter, the bearded Demon Queller with head turned to look at a bat in flight above, the scene framed by banana trees on the reverse, all between incised double line and petal borders, and below a band of pendent petals encircling the waisted neck, wood stand.

ProvenanceImperial Oriental Art, New York. 

Note: The legend of Zhongkui, the Demon Queller, began as early as the Tang dynasty and during the Song dynasty he became part of the Daoist group of gods. By the Qing dynasty, he was a popular subject in the arts, especially painting. For the legend of Zhongkui see Fang Jing Pei, Symbols and Rebuses in Chinese Art, Berkeley/Toronto, 2004, pp. 198-9. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York, 22 March 2007