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Lot 126. A rare relief-decorated famille-verte vase, Qing dynasty, Kangxi (1662-1722); Height 17⅞ in., 45.5 cmEstimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USD. © 2020 Sotheby's

of elegantly attenuated baluster form, rising to a waisted neck and flaring rim, the body finely enameled with scholarly assemblages comprising precious and auspicious objects and motifs, skillfully incorporating several prominent ‘antiques’ including a fabric-wrapped qin, a square flower-filled vase, beribboned scrolls, and a stack of books sprig-molded and applied in high relief, all below a band of iron-red and gilt florets surmounting a row of pendent ruyi-heads and an applied band of lively lotus scroll encircling the neck.

Provenance: S. Marchant & Son, London. 

NoteThe Kangxi period is recognized as a time of tremendous technical and aesthetic innovation in the arts. The potters of Jingdezhen readily responded to the artistic demands of the imperial household and new markets at home and abroad. It is typical of the period that a familiar, respected technique such as appliques, would be revisited and refined to an unprecedented degree. Previously, thick potting was required to provide a stable support for the applied decoration and the appliques themselves were prone to crack and shrink away from the body when cooling. The present vase evinces mastery over these technical challenges, the applied decoration, each element finely detailed and enameled, adheres superbly to the body, and is further enhanced by the painted decoration.

A similar vase, but of rouleau form, is in the Palace Museum, Beijing and illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Porcelains in Polychrome and Contrasting Colours, Hong Kong 1999, pl. 143. See also a pear-shaped vase with figural relief-decoration from the Jie Rui Tang Collection, sold in these rooms 20th March 2018, lot 329.

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