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Lot 212. A rare celadon-glazed quadrilobed 'mythical beast' vase, Seal mark and period of Qianlong (1736-1795). Height 7½ in., 19 cmLot sold: 107,100 USD (Estimate: 80,000 - 120,000 USD). © Sotheby's 2022

the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue.

Property from an Asian Private Collection.

Provenance: Denys Cowell, Brighton, circa the 1980s.
English Private Collection.
Woolley & Wallis, Salisbury, 13th November 2018, lot 75.

NoteThis elegant vessel is unusual for its quatrefoil begonia-shaped section and its archaistic relief-carved mythical beasts reminiscent of ancient jade designs. The stylized dragon handles are also inspired by those found on archaic bronzes, while the luminous glaze imitates the refined blue-green wares produced at the Longquan kilns during the Southern Song dynasty. Overall, the present vase synthesizes and recombines elements from the art of classical China into a dazzling new design, embodying the Qianlong Emperor's interest in antiquarianism and artistic innovation. 

A few monochrome vases of similar form are published, albeit of larger scale and lacking the relief decoration. See a celadon-glazed example measuring 68.6 cm tall, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 5th November 1996, lot 858 and again in these rooms, 21st March 2018, lot 535, and one with a crackled ge-type glaze measuring 31 cm in height formerly in the collection of T.Y. Chao, and sold multiple times at auction, most recently in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2019, lot 3616. For related archaistic designs on porcelain, compare the chilong medallions carved onto a celadon-glazed baluster vase from the Zande Lou Collection, later sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 3rd December 2021, lot 2910.

For an example of an archaic bronze vessel that may have served as inspiration for the present kuilong-form handles, compare the handles cast on an Eastern Zhou (770-256 BC) bronze hu in the National Museum of Asian Art, Washington D.C. (accession no. F1957.22), illustrated in Jenny So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 1995, p. 39, fig. 53.

 Sotheby's. Important Chinese Art, New York, 21 september 2022