Lot 3383. A rare large blue and white moulded vase with ruyi-shaped handles, Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795); 18 3/4 in. (47.7 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 2,000,000 - HKD 3,000,000. Price Realized HKD 19,720,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013
Raised on a spreading foot and applied with a pair of ruyi-shaped handles on the waisted neck; the globular body is painted with a broad frieze of flowerheads entwined with lingzhi fungus. The decoration lies between moulded bands of petal lappets enclosing lotus around the base, and bats linked by ruyi designs on the shoulder. The waisted neck rising from a rounded collar of stylised keyfret is painted with a band of overhanging lotus scrolls and qing chimes, above upright plantain leaves and between keyfret borders.
Provenance: W.P. Foss, Nyack, New York
Sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 21-22 May 1979, lot 180.
Note: Both the shape and decoration of the vase are fashioned after a Yongzheng prototype, see a Yongzheng-marked vase of similar size but with a main decoration of scrolling lotus, illustrated in Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red (III), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 110, pl. 96.
A Qianlong-marked example of similar size and decorative bands of bats and ruyi heads, overhanging chimes and lacy lappets, was sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 15 May 1990, lot 154. The main decoration on all the examples, including the current vase, is clearly inspired by the floral scrolls on early Ming porcelains with underglaze-blue decoration. The 18th century potters at the imperial kilns were at pains to try and imitate the 'heaped and piled' effect of the cobalt seen on early 15th century porcelains. Both the Yongzheng and Qianlong examples bear a main 'Indian lotus' scroll, while the present lot is unique featuring stylised flowerheads intertwined with lingzhi fungus and exceptionally moulded decorative bands.