176
176
A RARE BLUE AND WHITE 'ROSETTE' MOONFLASK MING DYNASTY, YONGLE PERIOD
Estimate
80,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 300,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
176
A RARE BLUE AND WHITE 'ROSETTE' MOONFLASK MING DYNASTY, YONGLE PERIOD
Estimate
80,000120,000
LOT SOLD. 300,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

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New York

A RARE BLUE AND WHITE 'ROSETTE' MOONFLASK MING DYNASTY, YONGLE PERIOD
elegantly potted with a flattened spherical body rising to a waisted neck and a pear-shaped upper bulb, set with two strap handles accentuated by a central raised ridge and a leaf-shaped terminal, the domed circular front and back deftly painted in tones of deep cobalt with a formal rosette centered by a yin-yang medallion within a ring of petal lappets, surrounded by a radiating eight-pointed starburst of alternating foliate and floral motifs, all within a formal 'half-cash' diaper border around the edge, the upper bulb picked out with a narrow band of aster and carnation between double lines repeated at the base of the neck and rim, the handles outlined with double fillets and decorated with a spray of peony at the lower end, above two blue lines running along the flat sides, covered overall with a glossy glaze of fine, smooth texture, pooling at the recesses to a slight blue-tinged tone, the oval foot ring left unglazed
Height 10 3/8  in., 26.3 cm
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Provenance

North Carolina Private Collection (by repute).

Catalogue Note

This moon flask belongs to a group of vessels which both in shape and decoration represented a new departure for Chinese porcelain and which derived their inspiration from abroad. The geometric star-shaped medallion which is centered on a yin-yang symbol, consists of curved bands and pointed tips vaguely reminiscent of leaves and buds and the surrounding border also consists of petal elements. Their rigid, formal arrangement, however, discourages any evocation of representational forms and draws upon Middle Eastern design. Only the yin-yang emblem, narrow flower-scroll band on the bulb and small floral sprays at the handles seem to derive from the traditional Chinese design repertoire. The delicate combination of minute asters and carnations in this band is particularly attractive and effectively balances the strict geometry of the overall design.

Flasks of this type, which are also known with a slightly different rosette design, come in two different shapes, with and without a Xuande reign mark, possibly distinguishing Yongle (r.1403-24) and Xuande (r.1426-35) versions. While both versions were probably made in both periods, the present type may represent the slightly later Yongle version, its pleasing, harmonious proportions reflect a recalibration of the original shape, which is slightly taller and has a more elongated bulb. The taller shape is usually unmarked, whereas the present form, with its more pronounced pear-shaped bulb, typically bears a Xuande reign mark.

A similar flask from the Qing Court Collection in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci [Early Ming blue-and-white porcelain in the Palace Museum], vol. 1, Beijing, 2002, pl. 85; another in the Shanghai Museum, in Wang Qingzheng, Underglaze Blue and Red, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 52; both are attributed to the Xuande reign. Another similar flask from the Ardabil Shrine is in the National Museum of Iran, Teheran, published in Oriental Ceramics: The World’s Great Collections, vol. 4, Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco, 1980-82, col. pl. 58. For a similar flask of Xuande mark and period from the Sir Percival David Collection in the British Museum, London, see Stacey Pierson, Blue and White for China. Porcelain Treasures in the Percival David Collection, London, 2004, pl. 19.

A similar flask from the collection of Major Lindsay Hay was sold in our London rooms, 25th June 1946, lot 62; another sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 18th May 1982, lot 148, was included in the exhibition Chinese Porcelain. The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1987, cat. no. 14.

For flasks of this design with a more elongated neck, compare an unmarked example excavated from the waste heaps of the Ming imperial kilns at Jingdezhen included in the exhibition Jingdezhen chutu Ming chu guanyao ciqi / Imperial Hongwu and Yongle Porcelain Excavated at Jingdezhen, Chang Foundation, Taipei, 1996, cat. no. 65; or one in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, in Regina Krahl, Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, ed. John Ayers, London, 1986, vol. II, no. 616; and a flask of Xuande mark and period in the Palace Museum, Beijing, in Geng Baochang, op. cit., pl. 84.

Important Chinese Art

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New York