Lot 619. A rare celadon-glazed 'chrysanthemum' bottle vase, Kangxi mark and period (1662-1722). Height 8 in., 20.3 cm. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 USD. © Sotheby's.
elegantly potted, the ovoid body resting on a narrow slightly splayed foot, the base molded with a band of upright elongated chrysanthemum petals, rising to gently rounded shoulders and tapering to a slender neck surmounted by a subtly flared rim, covered in a lustrous seafoam celadon glaze pooling in the recesses, the recessed base glazed white and with a six-character mark in underglaze blue.
Note: With its delicate pale celadon glaze and pleasing form, the present vase exemplifies the elegant aesthetic and technical perfection of early Qing dynasty monochrome porcelains. Known as juban ping, 'chrysanthemum petal vase', the form belongs to a group of eight vessels for the scholar's table, considered one of the most iconic groups of porcelains created under the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. The group comprises three types of waterpots, a seal paste box and cover, and four vases of differing form, including the 'chrysanthemum' type seen here. Often found with peachbloom glazes, it is very rare to find a 'chrysanthemum' vase with celadon glaze.
An example is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 14.40.366 and illustrated in Fong Chow, 'Chinese Porcelains in the Altman Collection', The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Summer 1961, fig. 20. Chow writes, "Only pale celadon, developed at Ching-te chen, can rival clair de lune; its clear and delightful green color and potting are almost as perfect as peach bloom. The Altman collection has only one piece, a vase with a chrysanthemum base that bears the six-character K'ang-hsi mark in underglaze blue', p.15.
Another vase is in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., illustrated in Hara Hiromu, Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections - The Freer Gallery of Art, vol. 10, Tokyo, 1976, pl. 37. Two examples from the Widener Collection, one of which was formerly in the collection of J. Pierpont Morgan, are now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., and published in Decorative Art, Part II: Far Eastern Ceramics and Paintings, Persian and Indian Rugs and Carpets, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1998, pls 1942.9.400-500. One in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in John Ayers and Masahiko Sato, Ceramic Art of the World: Ch'ing Dynasty, vol. 15, Tokyo, 1983, col. pl. 32. See also another vase with a reduced neck, illustrated in John Ayers, The Baur Collection: Chinese Ceramics: Monochrome Glazed Porcelains of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Geneva, 1972, pl. A 357.
Only two or three Kangxi celadon-glazed 'chrysanthemum' vases have ever appeared at auction. A Kangxi mark and period example sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 26th November 1980, lot 370, and is possibly the same vase that sold in the same rooms, 25th April 2004, lot 44. Another with an apocryphal Chenghua mark and formerly in the collection of J. Insley Blair, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28th November 2012, lot 2114.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 10 september 2019