Lot 1326
  • 1326


3,000,000 - 5,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed


of ovoid form tapering to a slightly splayed foot and rising to a waisted neck with flared mouth and inturned rim, finely painted with a continuous panel enclosing blooming white lilies entwined around the lower branches of a pomegranate tree, the knotty branches bearing red multi-coloured flowers and plump fruits, some burst open revealing raspberry-red seeds, all reserved on a gilt-decorated deep blue ground between moulded lappet and ruyi-head borders, the shoulders and neck with further pomegranate flowers enclosed by butterflies and separated by florets and lozenges intertwined with leafy stems, the mouth encircled by alternating leaves and stylised lotus flowers, the interior and base glazed turquoise, with a central square reserved in white for the base for the six-character seal-mark in iron-red


Removed from the Yuanmingyuan, Beijing, 1860.
Collection of Lord Loch of Drylaw (1827-1900). 
Collection of Alfred Morrison (1821-1897).
Thence by descent to the collection of the Rt. Hon. Lord Margadale of Islay, T.D., at Fonthill House, Tisbury, Wiltshire (Fonthill Heirlooms).
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 29th October 1991, lot 286.
Sotheby's Hong Kong, 25th April 2004, lot 246.

Catalogue Note

Although no other Qianlong vase of this form appears to be recorded, a Qianlong mark and period vase of different shape, decorated with branches of fruiting pomegranate, peach, finger citron and persimmon, between similar gilt and blue-ground borders on the neck and foot, was sold in these rooms, 27th October 1992, lot 161. Another vase with similar ruyi-head bordered blue and gilt bands can be seen on a cylindrical landscape vase, from the Qing Court collection and still in Beijing, illustrated in Kangxi. Yongzheng. Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 349, pl. 30.

Compare also a vase with angled shoulders, painted with detached branches of fruiting persimmon, pomegranate, peach and finger citron, between bands of blue and gold, also with a Qianlong reign mark and of the period, sold in these rooms, 28th October 1992, lot 161, and twice at Christie's London, 16th November 1999, lot 244, and again, 11th November 2003, lot 52.

Pomegranate in China symbolizes abundance and a wish for many sons and grandsons. An opened pomegranate with its seeds exposed evokes a Chinese saying 'shi liu kai xiao kou'  which means 'the pomegranate opens and produces hundred sons'.

For a slightly later version of the fruiting and flowering pomegranate branches design see a Jiaqing vase, in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Chugoku toji zenshu, vol. 21, Kyoto, 1981, pl. 142; and a vase sold in our London rooms, 12th July 2006, lot 136, from the same collection as the present piece.