Lot 3166. A miniature blue and white 'melon' jar, 18th-19th century; 2 ½ in. (6.3 cm.) highEstimate $3,000 – $5,000 Price realised $6,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The tapering body is divided into six lobes, each decorated in shades of cobalt blue with fruiting melon vines below the short waisted neck. The recessed foot is of conforming outline.

Provenance: Reverend Isaac Taylor Headland Collection (1859-1942), and thence by descent within in the family.

Reverend Isaac Taylor Headland (1859-1942) was an American missionary and accomplished scholar who went to Beijing in 1880 and served as a professor at Peking University. While he was hired as professor of science, he taught a wide range of subjects, all in Chinese. Reverend Headland was also instrumental in obtaining books on foreign topics, especially technology, for Emperor Guangxu. His wife, Dr. Miriam Sinclair Headland (1859-1953) served as head of the Presbyterian Women's Hospital and then professor of hygiene at Peking University. She served as physician to the mother and sister of Dowager Empress Cixi and interacted frequently with many members of the royal family, both professionally and socially. His language ability and experiences gained from living for seventeen years in the capital of China during a turbulent period resulted in numerous publications on a wide variety of topics. Reverend Headland's interest in Chinese culture led him to assemble a large collection of Chinese paintings and works of art. Regarding his paintings, in addition to works from the Empress Dowager herself, Reverend Headland collected classical works from earlier times and paintings made by contemporary artists living in the capital. Chinese Paintings from the Headland Collection will be offered on Tuesday, 17 March 2015, lots 3741-3760.

Note: A very similar vase was sold at Christie's New York, 19-20 September 2013, lot 1388.

Christie's. FINE CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART, 15 - 16 March 2015, New York, Rockefeller Plaza