Lot 3312
  • 3312

A RARE BLUE AND WHITE 'FLORAL' BOTTLE VASE MARK AND PERIOD OF YONGZHENG |

Estimate
2,800,000 - 4,000,000 HKD
bidding is closed

Description

  • 32.5 cm, 12 3/4  in.
potted with a compressed globular body rising from a splayed foot and tapering to a tall cylindrical neck, the exterior densely decorated with large floral blooms, including lotus, peony and chrysanthemum, each borne on undulating stems bearing lush foliage, all below a frieze enclosing a floral scroll encircling the rim, the foot bordered with a classic scroll band, the base inscribed with a six-character reign mark within a double circle

Provenance

Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 12th/13th May 1976, lot 122.
Sotheby's London, 11th December 1990, lot 323.

Catalogue Note

This rare vase epitomises the archaistic taste of the Yongzheng period. The dense floral scroll on this vase, simulating the ‘heaping and piling effect’, is clearly inspired by early Ming blue and white porcelain. Its form, however, hints at China’s revered metalwork tradition. Although individual design components were prevalent at the time, the combination of this form and design appears to be rare. For prototypes of composite floral scrolls, see two Xuande examples from the Qing Court collection preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing: a blue and white moonflask without handles and a tall ewer with an angular spout, both illustrated in Geng Baochang, ed., Gugong Bowuyuan cang Ming chu qinghua ci [Early Ming blue-and-white porcelain in the Palace Museum], vol. 1, pls 86 and 92.

The form of this vase was inspired by metal bottles with long necks and flattened body, which were made from as early as the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). The form had already been adopted by potters of the Song period (960-1279), and given the Emperor’s reverence for official wares of the Song dynasty, it is difficult to determine which version was most influential for the creation of this vase. A bronze bottle attributed to the Han dynasty, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is published on the Museum’s website, accession no. 2007.133. See also a Longquan celadon bottle covered in a ge-type glaze, unearthed at the Wayaolu kiln site near Xiaomei, Longquan, illustrated in Selection of Ge Ware. The Palace Museum Collection and Archaeological Discoveries, Beijing, 2017, pl. 90. 

Vases of this form and painted with this motif are rare, and only one related example, but of smaller size, appears to have been published: from the Grandidier collection in the Musée Guimet, Paris, it is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World’s Great Collections, Tokyo, 1981, vol. 7, pl. 163. See also a smaller Yongzheng mark and period vase of this form, but the floral scroll design painted in copper red, sold in our London rooms, 19th June 1984, lot 350.

This form is also known on Yongzheng mark and period vases covered in a monochrome glaze, such as a Ru-type vase in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in Selection of Ru Ware. The Palace Museum’s Collection and Archaeological Excavations, Beijing, 2015, pl. 95.

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