A RARE CELADON-GLAZED INCISED 'LOTUS' ARCHAISTIC SQUARE VASE, QIANLONG INCISED SEAL MARK AND PERIOD | 清乾隆 粉青釉刻纏枝蓮紋夔龍耳四方尊 《大清乾隆年製》款
Estimate: 80,000 - 120,000 GBP
A RARE CELADON-GLAZED INCISED 'LOTUS' ARCHAISTIC SQUARE VASE
QIANLONG INCISED SEAL MARK AND PERIOD
清乾隆 粉青釉刻纏枝蓮紋夔龍耳四方尊 《大清乾隆年製》款
the tapered square body rising to a waisted neck and lipped rim, each corner applied with a stylised kui dragon handle, each side of the body finely incised with dense scrolling foliage bearing large lotus blossoms, all between bands of pendant ruyi heads and lappet borders, the neck similarly incised with upright stylised floral motifs, applied overall with a lustrous sea-green glaze thinning along the edges and pooling to a darker tone within the incised design, the base with an incised six-character seal mark
Height 23 cm, 9 in.
The vase has a hairline glaze line that runs along both sides of one handle but does not meet at the upper section. There is a shallow 0.4 cm wide glaze flake to the rim.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
This vase is remarkable for its pleasing proportions, watery celadon glaze and subtly incised floral scroll. It encapsulates the prevailing taste at the Qianlong court for porcelain that adapted familiar forms and combined them with novel designs. The facetted shape and four dragon handles were inspired by archaic bronze vessels of the Eastern Zhou period (770-256 BC), while its incised feathery scroll is strongly indebted to French Rococo. The craftsman who made this piece successfully adapted the somewhat austere archaic bronze shape to the sophisticated taste of the Qing court by diminishing the size of the four handles and incising the body with a luxuriant scroll.
Vases of this unusual form and incised with a floral scroll are rare. A vase of similar form but with an incised floral scroll rendered in gilt, formerly in the Robert Chang Collection, was included in the exhibition Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection, Christie's London, 1993, cat. no. 113, then sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 27th April 1993, lot 246. Compare also with a pair of reticulated vases of related form but larger size, similarly fashioned with four dragon-shaped handles on the neck and decorated in famille-rose enamels against a celadon ground, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 29th May 2007, lot 1370.
For the prototype of this form, see a bronze fanghu with large dragon handles at the four corners, attributed to the 4th century BC, unearthed in Pingshan, Hebei province, and illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji, Dong Zhou [Complete Collection of Chinese Bronzes. Eastern Zhou], vol. 9, Beijing, 1997, pl. 154.
本品器型罕見，帶刻花紋飾者更為難得，唯可比較一例，器型相近，描金紋飾，出自張宗憲收藏，曾展於《Important Chinese Ceramics from the Robert Chang Collection》，倫敦佳士得， 1993年，編號113，售於香港蘇富比1993年4月27日，編號246。比較一對縷空尊例，尺寸較大，四龍耳與本品相近，青釉，粉彩紋飾，售於香港佳士得2007年5月29日，編號1370。