Lot 13. A 'Chinese Imari' 'Soldier vase' and cover, Kangxi period (1662-1722); 53 in. (134.6 cm.) high, the porcelainEstimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000Price realised USD 43,750. © Christie’s Image Ltd 2020

Exuberantly painted overall with two large phoenix hovering above flowering peony and chrysanthemum, elaborate planted jardinieres nearby, all beneath a deep lappet collar around the shoulders, the decoration repeated on the domed cover with gilt lion knop. Together with later European gilt bronze stand.

NoteAugustus the Strong (1670-1733), the porcelain-obsessed Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, traded Frederick the Great a regiment of dragoons for a collection of Chinese porcelain, including eighteen over-sized floor vases. Ever since, these towering Chinese porcelain vases have been known as 'dragoon vases' (dragonervasen) or 'soldier vases'. Extremely difficult to make, to pack and to ship, these massive vases were destined for Europe's elites, where they stood guard in ballrooms and great halls of palaces and country houses.

Augustus the Strong's vases were blue and white, but most extant soldier vases were made a bit later and in famille rose enamels. 'Chinese Imari' soldier vases are rare.

Christie’s. Chinese Export Art Featuring the Tibor Collection, Part II, New York, 23 January 2020