finely potted, the tapered body supported by a splayed foot to a tall cylindrical neck with dished rim, the body delicately painted in pale tones of underglaze-blue with the bajixiang, paired together in four clusters, set amid dense interlocking foliate scrolls, all within ruyi-head borders, the broad shoulders decorated with lotus on leafy scrolling stems, the neck separated by raised bands between single line borders, encircled with pendant leaf and foliate scroll bands, the mouth with a band of floral sprigs, the foot encircled by a border of pendant lappets, the centre of the base recessed and inscribed with the six-character mark within double circles in underglaze-blue
Yongzheng vases of this form are extremely rare and no other vase of this design appears to be recorded. The shape is derived from bronze originals, possibly of the Song or Ming periods as suggested by John Ayers in The Baur Collection, Geneva, vol. 3, Geneva, 1972, pl. A348, where a Yongzheng vase of very similar shape and size but covered in a crackled glaze imitating guan wares of the Song dynasty is illustrated.
Blue and white vases of this form painted with two dragons leaping above rocks pursuing a 'flaming pearl', also with Yongzheng marks and of the period, from private collections have been sold at auction; see one, formerly in the W.W. Winkworth collection and now in the collection of Au Bak Ling, sold in our London rooms, 12th December 1972, lot 198; and another, possibly the pair to this, in the Robert Chang collection and included in the Exhibition of Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, Christie's, London, 1993, cat.no. 78, sold in our London rooms, 10th December 1985, lot 237, and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 2nd November 1999, lot 513.
For the inspiration of this vase see a fragmentary celadon-glazed ritual bottle excavated from the Yongle strata at Zhushan in Jingdezhen, illustrated in Yuan's and Ming's Imperial Porcelains Unearthed from Jingdezhen, Beijing, 2000, pl. 93.
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