These vases are unusual for their white body and chilong which have been colored in the peachbloom glaze that was typically reserved for these eight prescribed vessels. Compare a related Kangxi mark and period vase, but potted with a straight cylindrical neck, the body washed with peachbloom glaze and the chilong rendered green, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, published in Suzanne G. Valenstein, A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics, New York, 1989, p. 237, no. 232; and another, from the Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, illustrated in The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1991, pl. 123, together with five further vessels, this set of six later sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 3rd November 1996, lot 557. Two similar vases, with an apocryphal mark of Chenghua, the white body applied with an aubergine-glazed archaistic dragon, were sold in our London rooms, one from the Aykroyd collection, 17th May 1966, lot 222, and the second, 14th April 1970, lot 150.
Kangxi mark and period vases of related form were also produced with a similarly rendered chilong painted to the shoulder in copper red; see a pair, from the Richard Bennet and J. Insley Blair Collections, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 28th November 2012, lots 2116 and 2117.
The use of coiling dragons modeled in high relief around the necks and shoulders of vases was already well known by the Tang dynasty (618-907) and continued to be popular in the Song dynasty in both bronze and ceramics, such as Longquan celadon and qingbai. Preference for the motif intensified in the late Ming dynasty, particularly at the Dehua kilns, as well as being produced in cloisonné enamel and bronze wares. By recreating them in porcelain and covering them in a peachbloom glaze that was pioneered in the Kangxi period, they possess a sense of modernity while celebrating traditions of the past.
For bronze versions of this vase see two cast with narrow necks and garlic mouths and applied with models of dragons, attributed to the 16th/17th century due to their resemblance with Dehua counterparts of this type, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, illustrated in Rose Kerr, Later Chinese Bronzes, London, 1990, pl 29; and a bronze vase of pear form, the cylindrical neck decorated with a dragon in relief chasing a pearl, attributed to the Qing dynasty, published in Philip K. Hu, Later Chinese Bronzes. The Saint Louis Art Museum and Robert E. Kresko Collections, St Louis, 2008, pl. 29.
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