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Lot 109. A rare underglaze-blue and copper-red 'dragon' bottle vase, Kangxi mark and period (1662-1722); Height 8¾ in., 22.2 cmEstimate: 12,000 - 16,000 USD. © 2020 Sotheby's

the slender tapering ovoid body surmounted by an elongated columnar neck and lipped rim, the shoulder and lower neck encircled by a lively, sinuous, three-clawed dragon in underglaze blue with copper-red scales, its mouth agape and tail curled, its front and back claws confronting, the base with a four-character mark in underglaze blue within a double circle.

ProvenanceCollection of Brayton Ives (1840-1914).
American Art Association, New York, 9th-14th March 1891, lot 151.
Christie's New York, 28th March 1996, lot 358

NoteThe present vase belongs to a small group of Kangxi-marked underglaze-painted bottle vases featuring dragons coiled around the vessel's neck and shoulder, and is exceptionally rare for the four-character reign mark on its base.

For a related vase, compare a bottle vase painted with a similar dragon above underglaze-blue waves around the base, with a six-character mark, sold at Christie's London, 8th November 2011, lot 383. See also two vases formerly in the Richard Bennett and J. Insley Blair Collections, painted in copper-red but with the dragons' eyes pinpointed in underglaze blue, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28th November 2012, lots 2116 and 2117. For example with the three-clawed dragon molded in relief and picked out in copper red, see a pair from the Junkunc Collection, sold in these rooms, 12th September 2018, lot 104.

Brayton Ives (1840-1914) was a Civil War general and president of the Northern Pacific Railway and the New York Stock Exchange. Ives was an avid collector of rare books and art, including Chinese porcelain. His impressive collection was sold by the American Art Association in 1891 and 1915, with the latter sale so immense that a "De Luxe" edition of the catalogue was produced.

Sotheby's. Kangxi Porcelain - A Private Collection. Live Auction: 22 September 2020 • 3:00 PM CEST • New York