Compare two slightly smaller Daoguang mark and period versions of this vase, with the bats and peaches bordered by larger ruyi lappets encircling the rim and foot, one in the Huaihaitang Collection, included in the exhibition Ethereal Elegance. Porcelain Vases of the Imperial Qing. The Huaihaitang Collection, Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, cat. no. 139; and another sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 17th January 1989, lot 699. For a slightly smaller Jiaqing vase of this form, see a yellow-glazed version incised with dragons amidst clouds and waves, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 54.1130.
Numerous popular stories have developed over the centuries linking peaches to endless bliss. Tao Qian (365-427) tells of a fisherman, who through a crevice in a rock followed the course of a stream to a peach orchard, 'Peach Blossom Spring', where he discovered a paradisical world. In the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms the three main protagonists are swearing an oath of brotherhood in a peach orchard. Peaches bestowing immortality are said to grow in the garden of Xi Wang Mu, the Queen Mother of the West, taking three thousand years to flower and the same time again to bear fruit. Due to their magical powers these peaches are said to have been repeatedly stolen, first by the clever Han dynasty scholar Dongfang Shuo (2nd/1st century BC) who thus turned immortal, and later by the scheming monkey Sun Wukong, hero of the novel Journey to the West, who in the 7th century is supposed to have accompanied the monk Xuanzang on his trip to India in search of Buddhist scriptures.
For a Yongzheng prototype, with only eight peaches, see one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Gugong Bowuyuan cang Qingdai yuyao ciqi [Porcelains from the Qing dynasty imperial kilns in the Palace Museum collection], Beijing, 2005, vol. 1, pt. 2, pl. 76; and a Qianlong version in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong. Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 16.
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