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24 mars 2020

An extremely rare famille-rose vase with ladies, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period (1723-1735)

H0046-L21502064 (2)

Lot 3070. An extremely rare famille-rose vase with ladies, Qing dynasty, Yongzheng period (1723-1735); 37.8 cm., 14 7/8 inEstimate 1,500,000 — 2,500,000 HKDLot Sold 1,500,000 — 2,500,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby's

the baluster body with an angular shoulder flaring to a trumpet mouth, well enamelled with an elegant lady seated in a root chariot drawn by a stag, surrounded by four female attendants elaborately dressed in flowing robes and carrying a peach, a vase, a ruyi sceptre and a sprig of lingzhi, the scene framed by craggy rocks and bats in flight, below clusters of treasured objects at the neck.

Provenance: Collection of Sir Frank Swettenham, G.C.M.G., C.H.
Sotheby's London, 7th November 1946, lot 175.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 22nd May 1985, lot 171.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 16th November 1988, lot 392.

LiteratureSotheby's Hong Kong – Twenty Years, 1973-1993, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 291. 

Note: Vases of this form and decoration are extremely rare and no other example appears to have been published, although it is included as a Yongzheng period form in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding, Hong Kong, 1993, p. 234, fig. 4. This piece can be attributed to the early Yongzheng reign through the use of pink with colours more typical of famille-verte wares. The softness of the colouring and the simplicity of the way the composition wraps around the body reveal the fine artistic accomplishment of the craftsmen of the period.

The scene of the present vase depicts Magu, the Daoist Goddess of Longevity, returning from an excursion to the mountains in search of lingzhi fungus and surrounded by her attendants. Magu is often portrayed as a young and beautiful girl carrying a basket or vase of lingzhi fungus or peaches and typically accompanied by a spotted deer, the only animal capable of finding the sacred fungus of immortality. First appearing on early-Ming porcelain, she gained popularity during the early Qing period and vessels with this design were produced for women's birthday celebrations. For a Yongzheng mark and period dish enamelled with a similar scene in famille-rose enamels, see one sold 8th October 2009, lot 1602; and an unmarked example sold in our London rooms, 13th November 1979, lot 134.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 08 april 2011