Lot 1936. A very rare Ming-style blue and white vase, yuhuchunping, Qing dynasty, 18th century; 11 3/4 in. (30 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 1,800,000 - HKD 2,500,000. Price realised HKD 4,230,000. © Christies Image Ltd 2013
The pear-shaped body is well painted in underglaze-blue of rich inky-blue tones in imitation of Ming-style 'heaping and piling' effect, the main body decorated with lotus blossoms borne on a slender scrolling stem. The neck is encircled by a band of leafy lingzi fungus dividing a band of pendent ruyi lappets and a border of upright plantain leaves, rising up the waisted neck with widely flared mouth. The lower part of the body is surrounded by lotus petal lappets, above a slightly splayed foot.
Note: The earliest prototype of this form and design traces back to several yuhuchunping examples of the Hongwu period, decorated in either underglaze-blue or copper-red. Compare to a copper-red example with lotus scrolls dated to the Hongwu period, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 198; and a blue and white example from the National Palace Museum, included in the Illustrated Catalogue of Ming Dynasty Porcelain, Hung-wu Ware, pl. 1. The main decoration on similar yuhuchunping may also employ peony or chrysanthemum. For more discussions on related Hongwu yuhuchunping, see Sir John Addis, 'A Group of Underglaze Red', T.O.C.S., vol. 31, 1957-1959, pp. 15-48.
The Hongwu prototypes, however, tend to have more densely rendered leaves on the body, filling all the available white space, while the main scrolls on the present lot is more loosely painted. Their waisted neck features plantain leaves with more rounded tips up to the rim and above an extra band of keyfret. It is interested to note that on the present Qing period vase, the early 15th century scrolling floral yuhuchunping is modified to feature plantain leaves of a reduced height around the neck and the band of keyfret is omitted.
The current scrolling lotus yuhuchunping is fashioned closely after those early 15th century prototypes with the exception of the band around the neck with designs of lingzhi fungus which is commonly found on 18th century yuhuchungping, including one decorated with lotus scrolls in underglaze-blue and copper-red dated to the Yongzheng period, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 195. The white space below the cloud collar and a plain inner inverted rim are also modifications from the original Ming design.
The plantain and scroll motifs on the waisted neck are similar to those found on a related vase dating to the Yongzheng period, painted with two birds perched on a flowering tree, sold in at Sotheby's London, 16 June 1998. lot 249, illustrated in The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, London, 2009, pp. 110-111, no. 33. See also a related Qianlong-marked example with more dense lotus designs on the body and a florette band around the foot ring, originally in the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 April 2001, lot 567.
Christie's. IN PURSUIT OF REFINEMENT - A LEGACY OF THE YC CHEN COLLECTION. Hong Kong, 29 May 2013