Lot 1307. A fine and extremely rare moulded celadon-glazed double-gourd vase, Qianlong six-character sealmark and of the period (1736-1795); 7 1/8 in. (18 cm.) high. Estimate 8,000,000 - HKD 12,000,000. Price Realized HKD 14,680,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2006.
Crisply carved and moulded with confronted archaistic dragons and phoenix, their bodies dissolving into scrollwork, on the globular upper gourd and around the truncated lower bulb, the waisted neck encircled by a raised rib, with ruyi and C-scrolls at the shoulder and upright lappets encircling the base, applied with a pair of S-shaped handles with ruyi terminals, covered overall in a soft sea-green glaze pooling and thinning in areas to highlight the moulded decoration by providing a contrast of colour tones, stopping at the rounded foot to reveal the pale body, box.
Provenance: The J. M. Hu Family Collection, sold at Sotheby's New York, 4 June 1985, lot 71.
Exhibited: Christie's London, An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, 2-14 June 1993, Catalogue no. 48.
Note: No other vase of this design and with this glaze appears to be published. This vase is an excellent example of the effect created by using the intaglio form of decoration on a monochrome porcelain vessel, to create two different shades of green from the same glaze, while simultaneously accentuating the dense archaistic designs on the domed body and upper bulb.
It is, nevertheless, based on a slightly earlier Yongzheng-marked double-gourd shaped vase with a more rounded base, covered with relief-decoration of foliate scrolls and a pale green glaze. Examples of these vases include one in Beijing, illustrated in Monochrome Porcelain, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 130; and another sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, An Important Private Collection, 17 May 1988, lot 70.
The rare form of the present vase, with the truncated lower bulb, is recorded in a number of different decorative styles. Examples covered in teadust glazes include a pair of Yongzheng-period vases illustrated in Chinese Ceramics in the Idemitsu Collection, Japan, 1987, fig. 961; a Qianlong-marked one from the J. E. Hotung Collection, was included in the Min Chiu Society Silver Jubilee Anniversary Exhibition, An Anthology of Chinese Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 1985, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 188, and subsequently sold in these Rooms, The Imperial Sale, 30 May 2006, lot 1253. A version embellished with doucai enamels from the Chang Foundation is illustrated in Selected Chinese Ceramics from Han to Qing Dynasties, Taiwan, 1990, pl. 160; while blue and white examples have been sold in these Rooms, The Imperial Sale, 27 April 1997, lot 77, and 27 October 2003, lot 634.
Christie's. Imperial Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection - Jade Shears and Shimmering Feathers, Hong Kong, 28 November 2006