A fine Ming-style blue and white bottle vase, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795)


Lot 527. A fine Ming-style blue and white bottle vase, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795). Height 14 3/4  in., 37.5 cm. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 USD. Lot sold 325,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the globular body rising from a spreading foot to a tall, elegant waisted neck, finely painted in rich 'heaped and piled' cobalt-blue tones with a composite flower scroll band, all between lotus-lappet and classic scroll bands at the base and a ruyi band at the shoulder, the neck with stiff leaf and keyfret bands below a collar of waves at the rim, the base inscribed with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.

Provenance: Collection of President and Mrs. Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964).
Collection of Allan Hoover (1907-1993).
Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, 7th December 1983, lot 353.

Note: Elegantly decorated with early Ming-inspired motifs, the craftsman of this vase has also imitated the mottled ‘heaping and piling’ effect of the celebrated 15th century blue and white wares through a deliberate application of darker and denser spots of cobalt on the design. A closely related example in the Nanjing Museum is illustrated in Treasures of the Royalty: The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 233; one in the Shanghai Museum is published in Zhongguo taoci quanji [Complete series on Chinese ceramics], vol. 15, Shanghai, 2000, pl. 2; and four such vases are illustrated in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, vol. III, London, 1996, pl. 2564, one with an elaborate 19th century Ottoman gilt-metal cover.

A vase of the same form, decoration and smooth rounded sides, was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 31st December 2015, lot 426, another similar example of this type sold also in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2011, lot 3129.

President Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou, formed a very fine collection of Chinese blue and white porcelain. The collection began while they lived in China around 1900 where he was employed as a mining engineer in Tianjin, and became a lifelong passion. At one point there were over 400 pieces in their collection. The president continued adding to the collection until his death in 1964 which was some twenty years after his wife's passing. At that time many of the pieces went to the family while others may be seen today at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 20 March 2019