This charming small vase testifies the Yongzheng Emperor’s penchant for unassuming vessels that were technically challenging to produce. Its delightful form, with gently swollen shoulder and small mouth, is covered in a rich and vivid red glaze derived from copper. Notoriously difficult to control in the kiln, copper red was largely abandoned in the late 15th century and its use revived only in the early Qing dynasty. The French Jesuit missionary, Pére D’Entrecolles (1664-1741), who resided in China during the Kangxi reign (r. 1662-1722), described in detail in a letter from 1712 the manufacturing process of copper-red wares, confirming the high level of technical expertise of the potters at Jingdezhen (Nigel Wood, Chinese Glazes
, London, 1999, p. 180).
Yongzheng mark and period meiping covered in this striking glaze and of such small proportions are rare. A slightly larger meiping was sold twice in these rooms, 8th April 2007, lot 710, and 5th October 2011, lot 1995. Compare also a meiping of similar small size but lacking the reign mark, sold in these rooms, 16th November 1988, lot 299.