superbly potted with a compressed globular body supported on a splayed foot, sweeping up to a waisted cylindrical neck surmounted by a flared rim, the body decorated in relief with a ferocious five-clawed dragon, its head with a pair of long horns emerging from a long flowing mane, the eyes with a penetrating gaze above a protruding nose and long curled whiskers, its scaly body intricately carved with naturalistic detail and prominently executed in bold relief, the muscular limbs terminating in sharp claws reaching for a flaming pearl, the beast dynamically striding amongst flames and dense scrolling clouds interspersed with seven flying bats, incised with a keyfret band at the foot, covered overall save for the unglazed footring with a smooth milky-white glaze, the base incised with a six-character seal mark
A French private collection, and thence by descent.
This vase is exceptional for its crisply carved motif of ferocious five-clawed dragons amongst clouds, and belongs to a select group of carved porcelain wares made during the Qianlong reign. Vases of this type are often referred to in Chinese as ‘fang Dingyao
’ or ‘in imitation of Ding ware’ after the deep opaque white glaze reminiscent of the much celebrated official Ding wares of the Song dynasty. Among the vessels of this group the present piece is particularly notable for its lively carving with the dragons rendered in a highly dynamic manner flying through ruyi
A slightly larger pair of vases of this form, carved with dragons above waves, from the collection of A.E. Hippisley, was sold at the Anderson Galleries, New York, 20th January 1925, lot 248; a vase was sold in these rooms, 20th May 1980, lot 91; another pair was sold at Christie’s London, 10th July 1978, lot 55; and a pair of vases of this form but carved with a flower scroll, was sold in our New York rooms, 23rd March 2004, lot 644, and again in these rooms, 8th April 2007, lot 725. Additional vases from this group, but of various forms and designs, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, are illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pls 239-242; and two further vases were included in the exhibition Monochrome Ceramics of Ming and Ch’ing Dynasties, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, 1977, cat. nos 140-141.