Lot 39. A rare blue and white double-gourd vase, Yongzheng mark and period (1723-1735). Height 23.5 cm, 9¼ in. Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 GBP. Lot sold: 63,000 GBP. Courtesy Sotheby's.
elegantly potted with a globular lower bulb rising to a waisted ribbed neck and a smaller bulb with an incurved rim, the mouth flanked by a pair of arched ruyi-shaped handles attached to the shoulders of the lower bulb, painted in vivid tones of cobalt blue simulating Ming dynasty 'heaping and piling' with lotus scrolls between a band of pendant ruyi heads at the shoulder and a band of upright lappets above the foot, the upper section similarly decorated, the base inscribed with a six-character mark in underglaze blue
Note: This vase is impressive for its harmonious proportions and delicately painted lotus scroll, which draws from celebrated past traditions and reinterprets them to result in a modern and engaging piece. Both its form and design appear to have been inspired by imperial blue and white flasks (bianhu) of the early 15th century. This form was first revived in the Yongzheng period, when several varieties were produced.
Vases of this form and painted with a composite floral scroll are unusual, although a closely related example from the British Rail Pension Fund, was sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 16th May 1989, lot 38. See also a slightly larger vase painted with sprays of fruit, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, included in the Museum’s exhibition Harmony and Integrity. The Yongzheng Emperor and His Times, Taipei, 2009, cat. no. II-33. The design is also known painted in underglaze blue and red as on a vase in the Nanjing Museum, illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 128; and a slightly larger one in the Tianjin Municipal Museum, published in Porcelains from the Tianjin Municipal Museum, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 146.
Sotheby's. Imperial Porcelain – A Private Collection, London, 4 November 2020