A large and impressive flambé-glazed jar, incised seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795)


Lot 2666. A large and impressive flambé-glazed jar, incised seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 44 cm., 17 1/4 in. Estimate 1,000,000 — 1,200,000 HKD. Lot Sold 3,140,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's 2010.

the robustly-potted globular body rising from a recessed base to a broad incurved lipped mouth, the exterior with a rich red glaze of crushed-raspberry tone streaked from the rim down with a bluish-white glaze also covering the interior, the base of mottled creamy-brown tone with an incised six-character seal mark.

Provenance: A Japanese Collection.

Note: Vessels covered in the striking flambé glaze reflect both the Yongzheng and his son, the Qianlong emperor's, fondness for Song dynasty 'Jun' wares.  It was Yongzheng who first commissioned the development of new glazes in imitation of 'Jun' vessels, and in total nine different types of revival 'Jun' glazes were created which can be found recorded in the 1732 edition of the Jiangxi tongzhi (General Description of the Jiangxi Province). For the list and description of the nine glazes primarily made in the  tones of purple, crimson and blue, see S. W. Bushell, Oriental Ceramic Art, London, 1981, pp. 194-196.  The flambé glaze was perfected under Qianlong's reign when a large number of wares, covered in this highly attractive glaze, were made generally after archaistic forms. However, the present jar remains a rare example of the type due to its contemporary form, and magnificent large size which undoubtedly pleased the emperor who had a special liking for impressive large objects which involved the highest level of technical skill in their making.

No other similar example of such large flambé-glazed jar appears to be recorded, although the vessel is possibly after a Yongzheng mark and period globular jar (diameter 30.6 cm) covered in tea-dust glaze illustrated in Kangxi. Yongzheng. Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 130; and a Yongzheng celadon-glazed jar (diameter 45.5 cm) deeply carved with the dragon and cloud design, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Zhongguo taoci quanji, vol. 14, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 214.

Compare a smaller flambé-glazed jar of related form attributed to the Qianlong period sold in our London rooms,  14thOctober, 1980, lot 258; and one from the Bertram Rowland collection sold in our New York rooms, 20th January 1977, lot 273.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, 08 Oct 10 11:00 AM, Hong Kong