Lot 3280. An imperial blue-ground gilt-decorated 'Butterfly and gourd' vase, Jiaqing six-character seal mark in iron red and of the period (1796-1820)12 1/4 in. (31.1 cm.) highEstimate HKD 2,600,000 - HKD 4,000,000. Price realised HKD 5,200,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2014.  

The vase is delicately enamelled in two tones of gilt on a sapphire-blue ground with a continuous vine bearing gourds and leaves, interspersed wtih fluttering butterflies. The base is enamelled in turquoise, reserving the iron-red seal mark.

Note: The motifs on the present vase are exceptionally well rendered with fine delineation and different tonalities of gold creating sharp contrast with the sapphire-blue ground. The combination of butterflies and gourds form the auspicious rebus guadie mianmian, 'May you have ceaseless generatinos of descendants'.

A Qianlong-marked double-gourd shape vase bearing very similar design of gold-enamelled butterflies and gourds on a blue ground was displayed in the Min Chiu Society exhibition Splendour of the Qing Dynasty, Hong Kong, 1992, cat. no. 228. Compare also to a Jiaqing-marked blue-ground baluster vase gilt-decorated with lotus and dragons, sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 8 April 2007, lot 510.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 26 November 2014