This design appears to have been inspired by early Ming fruit and flower spray patterns. See a meiping vase of the Yongle period with similar fruiting and flowering sprays, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, vol. III, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 30.
This design is very rarely found on vases of this present form, and is more commonly known from meiping and pear-shaped vases. See a meiping vase with similar decoration with the mark of Qianlong, illustrated in ibid., pl. 117, and also another in this sale, lot 1070.
In its decoration the fruit and floral sprays are superbly placed and give a sense of elegant spaciousness. The painting is confident and displays a profound sensitivity in shading and characterization of the luxurious vegetal elements. The decoration is enhanced with simulated 'heaping and piling' characteristic of the early Ming period. A piece with very similar decoration and mark, but of slightly smaller size, is illustrated in ibid., pl. 83. A piece of similar form and design, but with the mark and period of Qianlong was sold in our London rooms, 17th November 1999, lot 783.
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