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 Lot 136. A copper-red-decorated 'dragon' vase (Tianqiuping), Qing Dynasty, 18th century. Height 13¾ in., 35 cm. Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 USD. Lot sold: 69,300 USD. © Sotheby's 2021

the globular body rising to a tall, slightly flaring cylindrical neck, the exterior painted in vibrant underglaze red with a fierce, scaly four-clawed dragon striding amidst flame wisps and clouds in vigorous pursuit of a 'flaming pearl' above crashing waves below, the rim encircled by a band of foliate scroll, the recessed base unglazed.

Provenance: Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).

NoteDue to the difficulties of firing copper red successfully, ceramics painted with underglaze red designs are comparatively rare. The present vase showcases the great technical advances of the High Qing dynasty that enabled the success of this vibrant decorative mode. Compare a similarly decorated bottle vase in the collection of Queen Elizabeth II, illustrated in John Ayers, Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, vol. 1, London, 2016, pl. 449. See another related tianqiuping with a band of lappets above the foot and lingzhi scroll at the mouth, sold first at Christie's New York, 10th November 1981, lot 276 and then at Christie's Hong Kong, 7th May 2002, lot 578.

Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 21 September 2021