A LARGE BLUE AND WHITE 'SOLDIER' VASE
QING DYNASTY, KANGXI PERIOD
of tall tapered baluster shape, with rounded shoulders sweeping to a waisted neck and a flaring rim, richly painted to the exterior in vivid tones of blue with a central band of writhing chilong traversing amidst lingzhi in reserve on a blue ground, between bands of lotus scrollwork with a border of upright plantain leaves at the neck and stylised scrolling lotuses around the foot
Height 92 cm, 36⅛ in.
This large and impressive vase is in very good condition with the exception of a 5x3mm., rim glaze flake, light rim fritting and minor glaze firing imperfections and glaze scratches.
"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."
Sotheby's London, 12th May 2010, lot 107.
Grand and powerful, this vase is notable for its large size and dynamic design, which required great technical skills during all stages of the manufacturing process. Monumental jars and vases of this type are often referred to as soldier or dragoon vases after an event in 1717, when Augustus the Strong (1670-1733), King of Poland and Elector of Saxony and inveterate porcelain collector, traded a regiment of 600 soldiers for a group of porcelain including several blue and white Kangxi period vases of this monumental size. Those vases came from the collection of Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia and had been housed within his own porcelain collection at Schloss Oranienburg.
A set of seven, formerly in the collection of Augustus the Strong and now in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, is illustrated in China. Japan. Meissen. The Dresden Porcelain Collection, Dresden, 2006, p. 6; a related pair of vases in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, is illustrated in John Ayers, Chinese and Japanese Works of Art in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, vol. 1, London, 2016, pls. 352 and 353; a similarly large vase in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is illustrated in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collections, vol. 11, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 114.