Lot 1017
  • 1017

A pair of rare and large Chinese famille-rose baluster jars and covers Qing dynasty, Yongzheng/ Qianlong period, circa 1735

80,000 - 120,000 USD
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  • Porcelain
  • height 35 in.; 89 cm
each well painted with a continuous scene of figures on a balcony observing a group of female horsewomen galloping within a trellised garden, all above a band of colorful lappets around the foot and beneath an unusual border of interlinked circles filled with dense flower meanders at the neck and shoulder, the domed covers each painted with four images of horsewomen above a similar border of circles and surmounted by a seated lion finial, one cover probably a Samson, French replacement, wood stands


Christie's London, June 22, 1981, lot 134

Catalogue Note

The story depicted on these jars is taken from chapter thirty-five of the Sui Tang Yanyi, a Chinese historical novel based on events in the Sui and the Tang dynasties. Titled 'The Teary Procession of Zhaojun on a Clear Night', it shows the concubines of the Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty reenacting the procession of Wang Zhaojun (one of the four great beauties) as she heads out to the frontier. Emperor Yang was infamous for the risqué lifestyle he lived in Luoyang, at the West Garden, where his concubines would famously devise amusements, such as the scene depicted, to entertain the Emperor. This subject, which has often been incorrectly described as depicting the Lady Generals of the Yang Family, appears on a number of surviving vases of both Kangxi and Yongzheng/ Qianlong date, though the present jars are of significantly larger size than most other known examples.

A pair of smaller famille-rose baluster jars, from the collection of Roy P. and Perry Mottahedeh, similarly decorated but in a softer pastel palette, was sold in these room on January 29, 1987, lot 472 and was subsequently sold at Christie's New York on January 25, 2011, lot 98. A single famille-verte rouleau vase with the same subject, 16 inches high, was formerly in the Collection of Winston F. C. Guest, sold at Christie's New York, September 19, 2006, lot 344.