Well potted with rounded sides rising steeply from a low, wide foot to sharply angled shoulders, the waisted neck flanked by a pair of tubular handles, covered overall with an unctuous pale lavender-blue glaze suffused with subtle pale crackle, the unglazed foot rim covered with a dark brown dressing, Japanese wood box.

ProvenancePreviously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 1 May 2001, lot 525.  

Note: The glaze on this Qianlong vase is a fine copy of early Ru ware. In the Qianlong reign Song dynasty stonewares, particuarly the crackled wares of GeGuan, and Ru-type were highly regarded by the emperor. Not only did the emperor collect Song dynasty examples of Ru wares, he also commissioned new porcelain with a similar glaze from the imperial kilns.

Few vases of this large size and shape are published. However, one of similar size and shape with a Ge-type glaze was sold at Christie's New York, 21 September 2004, lot 315. Qianlong-marked blue and white vases of this form appear to be more common. A slightly smaller vase of the same form decorated in blue and white was included in the exhibition, The Wonders of the Potter's Palette: Qing Ceramics from the Collection of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1984, pl. 63; and several sold at auction, two at Christie's New York, 1 June 1990, lot 247, and another example sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 4 November 1996, lot 770. Another comparable hu-shaped vase with upright rather than flared mouth rim, decorated with similar floral scrolls, is illustrated in Blue and White Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, Book 1, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1968, pl. 3.

Other vases with Song-type glazes usually have a facetted, hexagonal shape like the Yongzheng vase with Guan-type glaze in the Palace Museum illustrated in Monochrome Porcelain, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, vol. 37, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 226, no. 204. However, the potter who made the current vase managed to throw and fire the vase successfully without restorting to strengthening vertical joins. It is another archaistic aspect of this vessel's design that it is based upon a metalwork shape, evidenced by the tubular handles, and also the sharp junction between the shoulder and the body of the vessel. Interestingly, there is a small vase in the Baur Collection, the profile of which shares the current vase's sharp shoulder junction, which is illustrated by J. Ayers and M. Sato (eds.), Sekai toji zenshu, vol. 15, Qing, Tokyo, 1983, p. 111, no. 121. The Baur Collection vase does not have the tubular handles but has been adapted from that of ancient bronze vessels. The current vase whilst having a shape that refers to ancient bronze forms, is undecorated so as not to detract from its beautiful glaze based on Song dynasty wares

Christie's. The Imperial Sale Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 31 May 2010