Lot 3119. A Ru-type octagonal vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 33.3 cm, 13 1/8  inEstimate 350,000 — 450,000 HKD. Lot sold 1,000,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's

of facetted octagonal baluster form, the gently tapered body rising from a short splayed foot to a broad shoulder surmounted by a waisted neck, covered overall in a thick luminous greyish-blue glaze densely suffused with fine crackles, the foot rim applied with a brown dressing, the base with an underglaze-blue six-character seal mark, wood stand.

ProvenanceA Japanese private collection.
Christie's Hong Kong, 30th May 2005, lot 1487.

NoteDeceptively simple in form and design, this vase contrasts markedly with the richly ornamented decorative style that is generally associated with the Qianlong period, and is a fine example of the skill of the potters in Jingdezhen in creating a subtle and smooth glaze in imitation of Ru ware, one of the ‘five great wares’ of the Song period. This vase thus reflects the Qianlong Emperor’s penchant for these early wares, which he not only collected but also commissioned the imperial kilns to recreate or imitate.

A closely related vase from the collection of Hirota Matsushige, in the Tokyo National Museum, is published in Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum, Chinese Ceramics II, Tokyo, 1990, pl. 721; three were sold in these rooms, the first, 2nd May 2005, lot 693, and again, 5th October 2011, lot 1989, the second, 19th May 1982, lot 274, and the third, 23rd October 2005, lot 321, and sold again in our New York rooms, 16th September 2009, lot 215; another vase was sold in our London rooms, 8th November 2006, lot 75; and a further example was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 31st May 2010, lot 2013. 

This type of vases continued to be made in the subsequent reigns; see a Daoguang mark and period example, included in the exhibition Qingdai danse you ciqi tezhan [Special exhibition of monochrome glazed porcelain of the Qing dynasty], National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1981, cat. no. 98.

Sotheby's. Marchant – Fifty Qing Imperial Porcelains, Hong Kong, 11 July 2020