Lot 3614
  • 3614


6,000,000 - 8,000,000 HKD
10,900,000 HKD
bidding is closed


  • porcelain
  • 65 cm, 25 5/8  in.
sturdily potted of hexagonal section, the baluster body supported on a splayed foot, set with a waisted trumpet neck of conforming section, the sides well painted in brilliant tones of cobalt blue with simulated 'heaping and piling' with boughs of pomegranate, peach and persimmon alternating with flowering branches, decorated with spandrels painted as spiky lotus scrolls, springing from linked trefoils encircling the foot and pendent ruyi border around the shoulder, the neck and foot similarly painted with floral sprays divided by matching spandrels, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character seal mark

Catalogue Note

The motif of this finely painted vase derives from early Ming blue and white porcelain. Fruiting and flowering branches first appeared on underglaze-blue porcelain during the Yongle reign, a time when the potters at the imperial kilns in Jingdezhen achieved enormous developments in the refinement of materials and expansion of the decorative repertoire. Blue and white vases of meiping form decorated with related fruiting and flowering branches are among the most characteristic products of the Yongle period; for examples, see a vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, vol. 1, Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 30, and another offered in this sale, lot 3620. Even the mottled cobalt ‘heaping and piling’ effect of the fifteenth century originals was painstakingly reproduced by the Qing craftsmen in a display of their proficiency over the pigment.

Like many other blue and white wares of the early Ming period, this design was reinvented and transformed during the Yongzheng Emperor’s reign before becoming one of the favourites of the Qianlong Emperor. A new life has been breathed into the Qing versions through the hexagonal form and the inclusion of European-style elements such as the scrolls on the corner edges and the stems of flowers around the neck. The familiar traditional Chinese motifs coupled with the secondary European-style designs not only provide an attractive aesthetic but also firmly celebrate the imperial authority of Qing China. 

A closely related example in the Nanjing Museum is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 212; one is published in Selected Masterpieces of the Matsuoka Museum of Art, Tokyo, 1975, pl. 102; another, sold twice in these rooms, 30th April 1991, lot 73, and 5th October 2011, lot 1920, is included in Sotheby's Hong Kong - Twenty Years, Hong Kong, 1993, pl. 166; one, sold in these rooms, 20th May 1981, lot 764 and illustrated in Geng Baochang, Ming Qing ciqi jianding [Appraisal of Ming and Qing porcelain], Hong Kong, 1993, p. 274, fig. 469; and a fifth example, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 27th April 1998, lot 724, is published in Julian Thompson, The Alan Chuang Collection of Chinese Porcelain, Hong Kong, 2009, pl. 36. A pair of vases, from the collection of General Field Marshall Alfred, Count von Waldersee, was sold in our London rooms, 12th July 2006, lot 116. For the Yongzheng prototype, see a vase from the Grandidier collection and now in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, Tokyo, 1981, pl. 164. The similarity between the vases of the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods suggests the present vase was produced early in the Qianlong Emperor's reign.