Lot 534
  • 534


150,000 - 250,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Porcelain, wood stand
  • Height 9 5/8  in., 24.4 cm
superbly potted with five conjoined outer baluster-form bodies enclosing the freely revolving inner central and tallest vase, each with finely carved white-slip decoration with a ruyi-head collar in shallow relief to the shoulders, repeated just under the everted rim, the neck with a single raised fillet suspending further ruyi, and a border of stiff upright lappets encircling the base, covered overall in a vitreous pale sea-green celadon glaze, each vase supported on a tapered unglazed footrim, the central vase with seal mark in underglaze blue, zitan stand incised with a single character reading jia (2)


Collection of Joe Yuey (1906-2005), San Francisco, California. 
Sotheby’s New York, 18th September 1996, lot 225.

Catalogue Note

The present vase is an exceptional example of this very rare type of multi-form vase.  There appears to be no other known example with a freely-revolving central vase. The technical ability to produce a fully formed, glazed vase in such close proximity to the surrounding vases without adhering is remarkable.  Additionally all other published examples of this form are plain glazed, lacking the slip decoration of the present vase. The form and glaze are most likely inspired by related multi-spouted vases made at the Longquan kilns during the Song dynasty (960-1279). This type of rare vase appears to have been made for imperial use during both the Yongzheng and Qianlong periods. Of the few known Qianlong period examples of this rare form, three have been previously sold at Sotheby's; one, in our Hong Kong rooms, 5th-6th November 1996, lot 862, and two in these rooms, 20th March 2012, lot 237 and another, 19th March 2013, lot 200. A similar example with a plain celadon glaze of slightly smaller dimension is illustrated in Chinese Porcelain, The S.C. Ko Tianminlou Collection, Hong Kong, 1987, pl. 149, and another example, from the Paul Baerwald Collection, and loaned from the Art Institute of Chicago was included in Exhibition of Chinese Ceramics, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, 1952, cat. no. 366. A vase with a sky-blue glaze is illustrated in Treasures in the Royalty, The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Chinese Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, pl. 326. A similar vase with teadust glaze preserved in the National Palace Museum, Taipei is illustrated in Catalog of the Special Exhibition of K'ang-hsi, Yung-cheng and Ch'ien-lung Porcelain Ware from the Ch'ing Dynasty in the National Palace Museum, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1986, cat. no. 96. 

The present vase is accompanied by a fitted, intricately carved zitan wood stand. The base of the stand is incised with a single character, jia. This character was used by the Qing imperial household as an inventory mark for pieces in the imperial collection. For a similarly marked zitan stand see an archaistic jade cong with its inscribed stand included in the exhibition The All Complete Qianlong: the Aesthetic Tastes of the Qing Emperor Gaozong, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2013, cat. no. 11.2.7.

This vase was formerly in the collection of Mr. Joe Yuey, a well-known patron of the arts in San Francisco.  Born in Guangdong province in 1906, he immigrated to the United States in 1923.  In 1939, at the Chinese Village at the Golden Gate International Exposition, he was introduced to Langdon Warner, curator of the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. Mr. Yuey later credited his friendship with Mr. Warner for encouraging and guiding his passion for collecting Chinese art.  Joe Yuey was also a friend of Avery Brundage and instrumental in raising funds and donating works of art that formed the foundation for the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.