A Guan-type bottle vase, Qianlong mark and period (1736-1795)


Lot 520. A Guan-type bottle vase, Qianlong mark and period (1736-1795). Height 4 7/8  in., 12.4 cm. Estimate USD 80,000 — 120,000Unsold. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019

the faceted pear-shaped body rising from a short foot to a tapering neck, set to each side with a cylindrical lug handle, applied overall with a fine caesious-colored glaze stopping neatly just above the foot, the foot ring applied with a dark brown dressing, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue. 

Provenance: Collection of Stephen Junkunc III (d. 1978).

Note: Notable for its elegant form and subtle bluish glaze suffused with fine streaks of golden-brown crackles, this well-potted vase embodies the Qianlong Emperor’s fondness for celebrated Guan ware of the Southern Song dynasty. It also testifies to the high level of technical dexterity of the potters of the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, who have skillfully imitated not only the iconic unctuous glaze of the prototype, but also the dark brown foot, which has been left unglazed and stained dark brown.

Compare two small bottle vases of this type with Qianlong four-character marks, illustrated in Ethereal Elegance, Porcelain Vases in the Imperial Qing, the Huaihaitang Collection, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2007, cat. nos 48 and 36. For other Guan-type vases of similar form, see a slightly larger example covered with a pale ash-gray glaze with dark stained crackles, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 20th May 1986, lot 83, and again at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27th May 2008, lot 1799; and another, sold at Christie’s London, 6th June 1988, lot 115. See also Ru-type vases of similar form, such as one also from the collection of Stephen Junkunc, III, sold at Christie’s New York, 19th March 2008, lot 658; and a slightly larger version from the J.M. Hu Collection, illustrated in Helen D. Long and Edward T. Chow, Collection of Chinese Ceramics from the Pavilion of Ephemeral Attainment, vol. IV, Hong Kong, 1950, pl. 172, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 9th October 2012, lot 111; and another sold twice in our Hong Kong rooms, 14th November  1989, lot 180, and 10th January 2001, lot 584. Another of this type sold at Christie’s London, 15th May 2018, lot 175. See also a bottle vase of related form and slightly larger size also from the Junkunc Collection sold in these rooms, 12th September 2018, lot 115.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, New York, 22 March 2019