Lot 3115. A green-enamelled 'dragon' jar, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 20 cm, 8 in. Estimate 500,000 — 700,000 HKD. Lot sold 750,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's
well potted with a tapering ovoid body rising from a recessed base to a rounded shoulder and a short neck, painted to the exterior in rich tones of green enamel with two striding five-clawed dragons in pursuit of flaming pearls amidst stylised clouds and flames, above a band of lappets at the foot, beneath a wide band of the bajixiang ('Eight Buddhist Emblems') on the shoulder with a further ruyi-head and scroll band all between single lines in underglaze blue, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.
Provenance: Collection of Monrad Helle, a Norwegian ambassador.
Sotheby's Paris, 18th December 2009, lot 174.
Exhibited: Recent Acquisitions, Marchant, London, 2011, cat. no. 36.
Note: A closely related jar is published in Porcelains of the National Palace Museum. Enamelled Ware of the Ch'ing Dynasty, bk. II, Taipei, 1969, pl. 13; one in the Nanjing Museum, is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p. 271; and another is included in Chinese Porcelain in the S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1987, cat. no. 114. Several Qianlong jars with covers from private collections include one from the collection of Edward T. Chow, sold in these rooms, 19th May 1981, lot 537; another from the W.W. Winkworth collection, illustrated in Soame Jenyns, Later Chinese Porcelain, London, 1951, pl. XCI, fig. 2, and sold twice in these rooms, 29th November 1977, lot 128, and again, 1st November 1999, lot 463; a pair from the Frederick J. and Antoinette H. Van Slyke collection, sold in our New York rooms, 31st May 1989, lot 201, one of which was sold again at Christie's Hong Kong, 30th May 2006, lot 1443; and another sold twice in these rooms, 18th May 1988, lot 292, and again, 8th April 2011, lot 3165.
The combination of green enamel on a white ground was first produced during the Chenghua period and the green dragon motif continued to adorn dishes and bowls throughout the Ming dynasty. This design was adopted by potters working during the Kangxi reign to decorate jars and remained popular throughout the Qing dynasty; see a Kangxi prototype, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 190.