Lot 2810. A large blue and white ‘bajixiang’ moonflask, Qianlong six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1736-1795); 19 ½ in. (49.5 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 1,200,000 - HKD 2,000,000. Price realised HKD 6,125,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019
The moonflask is finely painted on the front and back in underglaze blue with eight lotus petal-shaped panels, each enclosing one of the bajixiang, Eight Buddhist Emblems, radiating from a central raised boss decorated with a stylised flower-head and divided by key-fret and lappet bands. The narrow sides are decorated with a band of stylised lotus scroll. The neck, flanked by a pair of scroll handles, is painted with lingzhi scroll and with a key-fret band at the rim, which is similarly repeated on the slightly spreading foot, box.
Provenance: Sold at Christie’s London, 11 December 1989, lot 242.
Note: The form 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 centre. 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.
For other similar Qianlong blue and white moonflasks see an example in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Good Fortune, Long Life, Health and Peace: A Special Exhibition of Porcelain with Auspicious Designs, Taipei, 1995, no. 11; one in the Nanjing Museum illustrated in Qing Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Hong Kong, 1995, p. 295; one illustrated in Sekai Toji Zenshu, vol. 15, Tokyo, 1983, no. 151; two included in Chinese Ceramics in The Idemitsu Collection,Japan, 1987, figs. 949 and 950; one from the Greenwald Collection, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1 December 2010, lot 2826; another sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 8 April 2011, lot 3123; a pair sold at Sotheby’s London, 15 May 2013, lot 222; and a further pair sold at Bonham’s Hong Kong, 30 May 2017, lot 120.