Lot 1301. A fine and rare small clair-de-lune-glazed jardiniere, Qianlong six-character seal mark and of the period (1736-1795)5 5/8 in. (14.2 cm.) longEstimate 1,800,000 - HKD 2,500,000. Price Realized HKD 1,680,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2006. 

The rectangular jardiniere finely potted with low rounded sides supported on four shallow right-angled feet, the recessed base pierced with two circular apertures on either side of the reign mark, all covered in an attractive pale blue glaze, except for the bottom of the feet revealing the smooth white body and two tiny spur marks along the lengths of the base, stand, box.

Exhibited: Christie's London, An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, 2-14 June 1993, Catalogue no. 55. 

NotePreviously sold at Sotheby's London, 11 June 1991, lot 239.

The soft, gentle hue of the clair-de-lune glaze is one of the most treasured of Qing glazes, and was reserved exclusively for Imperial porcelains. It emerged in the late 17th century from the revolution in technology after the revival of the Jingdezhen kilns which were badly damaged during the Interregnum period in the mid-17th century.

It is possible that the present jardiniere was made in the style of Northern Song dynasty junyao jardiniere stands of similar rectangular form and covered with sky-blue glazes. Compare with the prototype in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated in Porcelain of the Song Dynasty (I), The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1996, pl. 19; and another, also from the Robert Chang Collection, sold in our New York Rooms, 21 March 2002, lot 149. These junyao stands were matched with rectangular flowerpots, such as the example in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated op. cit., 1996, pl. 18, but the present clair de lune jardiniere was made to be used independently, probably as a narcissus planter.

Christie's. Imperial Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection - Jade Shears and Shimmering Feathers, Hong Kong, 28 November 2006