A blue and white sleeve vase, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period (1627-1644)

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Lot 404. A blue and white sleeve vase, Ming dynasty, Chongzhen period (1627-1644); 43.7 cm. Lot sold: 69,300 HKD (Estimate: 50,000 - 70,000 HKD). © Sotheby's

Note: The scene on the present vase recalls the allusion of zhegui (‘to pluck an osmanthus branch’), which represents success in the imperial examinations and signifies an official's blossoming career. The phrase comes from a legend that a great osmanthus tree grows in the Lunar Palace. Branches of the tree are thought to rarely fall to Earth and grant good luck to whosoever found them. Furthermore, the imperial exam results were announced on the eighth lunar month, which coincided with the blooming season of the osmanthus. 

See a related sleeve vase, formerly in the collection of Robert Murray Bell, now in the collection of Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (object no. 998.110.1).





Jingdezhen ware vase, Ming Dynasty, c. 1625-1644 AD, Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, China. Wheel-thrown porcelain with cobalt-blue paint and glaze, 43.8 x 15.5 cm, Gift of Ann Walker Bell in memory of Robert Murray Bell, 998.110.1. © Royal Ontario Museum.

Sotheby's. CHINA / 5000 YEARS, Hong Kong, 30 November 2021