Lot 84. A large blue and white 'double-gourd' vase, Ming dynasty, Jiajing period (1522-1566). Height 25 in., 63.5 cm. Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 USD. Lot sold: 44,100 USD. © Sotheby's 2021
the lower bulb of square section, each side boldly painted in inky cobalt blue with a fabulous beast including a qilin, an elephant, a lion, and a horse, sweeping into a constricted waist and surmounted by a round upper bulb, painted with crane and shou medallions on a cloud scroll ground, the elongated cylindrical neck with a border of ruyi lappets and further shou roundels.
From the Collection of Bruce Dayton and Ruth Stricker Dayton
Note: Replete with symbols of longevity—the double-gourd form, the shou characters, cranes, lingzhi-shaped clouds, and auspicious animals—this robustly potted and decorated vase reflects the Jiajing Emperor's ardent devotion to Daoism and his desire to attain immortality.
Compare a related vase painted with qilin medallions on the lower bulb, exhibited in Inaugural Exhibition: Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1975, cat. no. 84. Another, with more stylized shou roundels on a similar cloud scroll ground, is illustrated in Hara Hiromu, Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. Museum Pusat, Jakarta, vol. 3, 1976, pl. 227. See also one with a scene of Shoulao on the lower bulb, included in Ming Blue and White: Jiajing-Chongzhen Including Dated Examples, S. Marchant & Son, London, 2004, cat. no. 8.
For examples sold at auction, refer to one sold in our London rooms, 5th November 2008, lot 67, and two sold in these rooms: the first, 21st-22nd September 2005, and the second, 11th September 2019, lot 885.
Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 21 September 2021