31 octobre 2021

A fine and superb flambé-glazed vase, hu, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735)

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Lot 10. A fine and superb flambé-glazed vase, hu, Seal mark and period of Yongzheng (1723-1735); 28.5 cm. Lot sold: 1,890,000 HKD (Estimate: 1,500,000 - 2,000,000 HKD). © Sotheby's 2021

sturdily potted with a pear-shaped body resting on a splayed foot and tapering towards a gently galleried rim, the exterior unctuously covered with a glossy crushed raspberry-coloured glaze highlighted by lavender-blue streaks, the base incised with a four-character seal mark beneath a pale olive-brown wash.

ProvenanceA West Coast collection.
Christie's New York, 28th March 1996, lot 387.

Literature: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth: Gems of Antiquities Collections in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 2001-2005, no. WK.C6.

Note: Covered in a rich crushed-raspberry glaze with lavender streaks, wares of this type were highly favoured by the Yongzheng Emperor who commissioned copies of Jun wares to be produced at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen. Also known as yaobian (transmutation glaze), Tang Ying (1682-1756), Superintendent of the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, recorded that potters were sent to Junzhou, Henan province in the 7th year of the Yongzheng reign (1729) to investigate the recipe for producing Jun glazes. Recent studies on flambé glaze have revealed that this new recipe required the application of a layer of copper-blue glaze with traces of lead, over a layer of red glaze, which when fired created the striking streaks so admired by the Emperor. 

A similar vase of this form and size, also covered in a lustrous glaze of rich crushed-raspberry glaze, is illustrated in Wang Qingzheng, ‘Yongzheng Imitations of Guan, Ge, Ru and Jun Wares’, Chinese Ceramics, Selected Articles from Orientations 1982-1998, Hong Kong, 1999, p. 270, fig. 9, where the author distinguishes its glaze from the typical flambé type (pp. 269-270). Only two other examples have ever appeared in auctions: one from the Estate of Bertha Tilly, sold in our New York rooms, 3rd December 1986, lot 260; and another sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 1st November 2004, lot 1162. 

The form of this vase is also inspired by Song wares, which were in turn based on archaic bronze hu vase prototypes, and was produced covered in various glazes during the Yongzheng period. A related Jun imitation vase of this shape and size, but enveloped in a mottled burgundy-red glaze with speckles of sky blue, was sold at Christie’s New York, 29th March 2006, lot 463. See also a deep-blue glazed version in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang Qingdai yuyao ciqi [Qing porcelains from the imperial kilns preserved in the. Palace Museum], vol. 1, Beijing, 2005, pl. 122; and a Ru-type vase, sold at Christie’s New York, 15th September 2009, lot 396. 

For a Kangxi porcelain prototype of this archaistic hu form, but with perforations to the foot, see a Langyao red-glazed vase from the Qing court collection, now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, inscribed with an imperial poem by the Qianlong Emperor, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 14.

Sotheby's. The Three Emperors: Imperial Porcelain of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong reigns from the Yidetang Collection, Hong Kong, 12 October 2021

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