13 avril 2023

A very rare 'peacock feather'-glazed mallet vase, Yongzheng four-character incised seal mark and of the period (1723-1735)






Lot 909. A very rare 'peacock feather'-glazed mallet vase, Yongzheng four-character incised seal mark and of the period (1723-1735); 16.5 cm high, cloth box. Price realised USD 756,000 (Estimate: USD 250,000 – USD 350,000). © Christie's Images Ltd 2023.

The vase has a slightly tapering cylindrical body rising to an angled shoulder below a tall cylindrical neck and is covered overall with a rich, opaque lavender-blue glaze mottled with deep reddish purple.

ProvenanceJ. J. Lally & Co., New York, no. 4372.

Note: The extraordinary effect of this glaze is achieved by applying an opaque stippled turquoise glaze colored with copper and made opaque by mixing the arsenic as an opacifier. Rose Kerr noted in Chinese Ceramics, Porcelain of the Qing dynasty, London, 1986, p. 88, that while visual examination reveals there to be two distinctive types of robin’s-egg glaze, one streaked with copper-red and the other stippled with blotches of turquoise and dark blue, further analysis is required to clarify the chemistry of these glazes. The robin’s-egg glaze was a monochrome glaze first invented in the Yongzheng reign. The peacock-feather glaze appears to be closely related to the more common robin’s-egg glaze, but the former is much rarer, possibly due to the difficulty in successfully achieving its desired effect.

The shape of the current vase is inspired by mallet-form vases from the Song dynasty, such as a Ding example in the Percival David Foundation illustrated by S. Pierson and S.F.M. McCausland, Song Ceramics: Objects of Admiration, London, 2003, pp. 20-21, no. 1; and a Guan example in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Sung Dynasty Kuan Ware, Taipei, 1989, p. 66, pl. 24. A Yongzheng mark and period Ge-type mallet vase was sold at Christie's New York, 24-25 March 2022, lot 1048 (fig. 1).


fig. 1.  A very rare Ge-type mallet vase, Yongzheng six-character seal mark in underglaze blue and of the period (1723-1735); 6 1⁄2 in. (16.6 cm.) high. Soldfor USD 1,134,000 at Christie's New York, 24-25 March 2022, lot 1048. © Christie's 2022

(Cf.my post http://www.alaintruong.com/archives/2022/04/05/39421378.html)

A very similar ‘robin’s egg'-glazed mallet vase with a similar incised four-character seal mark on the base in the collection of the National Museum of China is illustrated in Studies of the Collections of the National Museum of China: Porcelains, Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2007, p. 103, no. 67. See, also, the very similar ‘robin’s egg’ mallet vase sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Monochrome II, 9 October 2020, lot 37.

Several other peacock-glazed vessels in important collections are known, such as the Yongzheng-marked zun from the J. M. Hu and C. P. Lin Collections, illustrated by R. E. Scott, Elegant Form and Harmonious Decoration, Singapore and London, 1992, pl. 151; a Qianlong jar of 'fish basket' form is illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng QianlongQing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Forbidden City Publishing House, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 457, no. 139; and a moonflask with this glaze is illustrated in An Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, Christie's London, 1993, no. 48, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 28 November 2006, lot 1305. Also, see, a rare Yongzheng-marked robin's-egg-glazed pear-shaped vase from the Baofang Pavillion Collection of Imperial Ceramics, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29 May 2019, lot 2807. 

Christie's. J. J. Lally & Co.New York, 23 march 2023

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