sturdily potted, the baluster body rising from a slightly splayed foot to a short tapered neck and rolled rim, skilfully painted in deep tones of underglaze blue in the 'windswept' style with three groupings of figures, one depicting two scholars playing weiqi, observed by an Immortal, possibly Dong Wang Gong, bearing a ruyi scepter, another of Xi Wangmu, the Queen Mother of the West, wearing long flowing robes and holding a basket of peaches, flanked by female attendants, and a third of an immortal accompanied by two attendants, one bearing a wrapped qin, together with a spotted deer grasping a lingzhi sprig, each scene framed by wispy clouds, all set between a band of upright lappets and a broad register of alternating shaped cartouches enclosing floral sprays and florets reserved on a diaper ground at the shoulder, the neck painted with a diaper border
Sotheby's London, 14th November 2001, lot 99.
The present guan
jar belongs to a group of large blue and white jars and meiping
decorated in the painterly 'windswept' style with figures in landscape and garden setting after traditional literature and drama. The panoramic landscape is comparable to landscape paintings of the early Ming period, and the continuity of the scene is achieved by a line of curled clouds in the sky of the main register of decoration.
Compare two jars similarly painted with an Immortal observing a game of weiqi, but flanked by the Eight Daoist Immortals, the first in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Blue and White Porcelain with Underglaze Red (I), Hong Kong, 2000, pl. 183, and the second in the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, illustrated in Gen Min no tōji [Yuan and Ming ceramics], Idemitsu Art Gallery, Tokyo, 1977, cat. no. 43. Further guan painted with the same subject include one sold in our London rooms, 15th December 1981, lot 185; another sold at Christie's New York, 24th March 2004, lot 175, and a third sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th April 2007, lot 845.