07 mai 2021

A rare blue and white 'floral' vase, hu, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795)

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Lot 3615. A rare blue and white 'floral' vase, hu, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 50.8 cmEstimate: 800,000 - 1,200,000 HKD. Lot sold: 3,528,000 HKD. Courtesy Sotheby's.

the broad curving body painted with a foliate band of composite blooms between a ruyi border and a band of foam-crested waves, the vase angling to broad shoulders similarly painted with the sequence of crested waves, floral, and ruyi pendent bands, the waisted neck collared with a further border of scrolling lotus flowers, flanked by two tubular handles decorated with crested waves, the everted rim with a band of pendent trefoils below a further band of waves, all supported on a slightly flared foot with a band of lappets, the base inscribed with a six-character seal mark.

Provenance: Collection of Dr William Seri.
Christie's Hong Kong, 16th January 1989, lot 643.
Christie's New York, 21st September 2000, lot 349.
Christie's Hong Kong, 30th May 2005, lot 1480.

Note: The impressive form of this vase is an adaptation of archaic ritual bronze vessels, intended for use during ancestor worship ceremonies. Features like the angular ridge separating a concave neck from a convex body can already be traced to vessels of zun shape and tubular handles to vessels of hu form from the end of the Shang dynasty in the late 2nd millennium BC. This reference to archaic forms would have been much appreciated by the Qianlong Emperor who was a great connoisseur and a keen collector of archaic pieces.

Further reference to China's celebrated past is seen in the intricately painted floral scrolls which were inspired by Ming dynasty blue and white porcelain of the early 15th century. Painted in a brilliant deep cobalt blue, which reflects the high level of technical achievement by Qing craftsmen, Qing painters employed a stippled effect to simulate the accidental unevenness known as 'heaping and piling' typically found on early Ming pieces.

Large vases of related form, but with a narrow cylindrical neck and without foot were already produced during the Yongzheng reign. A Yongzheng vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Qingdai yuyao ciqi [Qing imperial porcelain], vol. 1, pt. II, Beijing, 2005, pl. 178. This Yongzheng form was also copied rather closely in the Qianlong period; compare two such vases in the Palace Museum, Beijing, one decorated with lotus flowers, the other with Ming-style flower scrolls and other motifs, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, Shanghai, 2000, vol. 3, pls 130 and 131.


Blue and white lotus flowers with eight treasures pattern and ear bottle,  Qianlong mark and period in the Palace Museum, Beijing

A similar vase from the collection of Sir Ralph Harwood, K.C.B., K.C.V.O., at one time Financial Secretary to King George V and Controller of the Royal Household, and believed to have been presented to him by Queen Mary, out of the Royal collections at Windsor Castle, was sold in our London rooms, 7th June 1994, lot 358. Another example, sold in these rooms, 16th May 1977, lot 90, is now in the Hong Kong Museum of Art, included in the Museum's exhibition The Wonders of the Potter's Palette, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1984, cat. no. 63. A further example was sold in these rooms, 3rd April 2019, lot 3633; and another was sold in our Paris rooms, 18th June 2020, lot 12.


 A fine and large blue and white 'floral' vase, hu, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 52 cm, 20 1/2  in. Estimate 3,000,000 — 5,000,000 HKD. Lot sold 8,335,000 HKD (1,073,631 USD) at Sotheby's Hong Kong,  3rd April 2019, lot 3633. Courtesy Sotheby's.

Cf. my post: A fine and large blue and white 'floral' vase, hu, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795) 


A rare large blue and white 'lotus' vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795); 52,4 cm, 20⅝ in. Estimate: 150,000 - 250,000 EURLot sold 237,500 EUR at Sotheby's Paris, lot 12Courtesy Sotheby's.

Cf. my post: A rare large blue and white 'lotus' vase, seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795)

Sotheby'sImportant Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 22 April 2021

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