Lot 623. A fine blue and white 'floral' hu vase, Qianlong seal mark and period (1736-1795). Height 19 1/4 in., 48.8 cm. Estimate 80,000 — 120,000 USD. Lot Sold 162,500 USD. © Sotheby's.
of archaistic form, well-painted in brilliant tones of underglaze blue with simulated 'heaping and piling', the ovoid body encircled by two bands, the upper with continuous lotus scroll, the lower with a composite floral meander, all between slightly raised double-line borders, the shoulder set with animal mask and mock-ring handles, below the waisted flared neck decorated with ruyi-bordered stiff upright plantain leaves and a narrow wave band around the rim, the bottom register with a further wave band above a band of pendent petal panels encircling the high flared foot, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.
Provenance: Collection of John Milton Bonham (1835-1897).
Note: This vase belongs to a group of blue and white wares discussed in Julian Thompson, ‘Decorative Motifs on Blue and White in the S.C. Ko Collection’, Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong, 1987, vol. 2, p. 31, with decoration adapted from 15th century designs but used on a Chinese bronze shape ‘alien to the fifteenth century’. Vases of this form were first produced at the Imperial kilns in Jingdezhen during the Yongzheng reign, painted in underglaze blue or covered in monochrome glazes. A Yongzheng blue and white example, from the Keralakis Family Collection was included in the exhibition Chinese Imperial and Export Porcelain. Cloisonné and Enamel Wares, S. Marchant and Son, London, 2005, pl. 37.
Compare a Qianlong vase of this form and design in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Porcelain of the National Palace Museum: Blue and White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 2 and another in the Nanjing Museum, illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 235. Vases of this type have sold at auction, including in our London rooms, 17th November 1970, lot 108; our Hong Kong rooms, 12th-13th May 1976, lot 131; and in these rooms, 23rd-24th May 1974, lot 421. A pair of vases first sold in these rooms, 27th November 1990, lot 160, and later in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2009, lot 1679.
Vases of this type remained popular and continued to be made throughout the Qing period; for example see a Daoguang mark and period vase illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jiandong [Appraisal of Ming and Qing porcelain], Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 510.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 10 september 2019