A FINE AND LARGE UNDERGLAZE-BLUE AND COPPER-RED 'SEVEN SAGES OF THE BAMBOO GROVE' VASE QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY | 清十八世紀 青花釉裏紅高士四藝圖洗口瓶
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF A PRIVATE SOUTHEAST ASIAN COLLECTOR
Property from the Estate of a Private Southeast Asian Collector
A FINE AND LARGE UNDERGLAZE-BLUE AND COPPER-RED 'SEVEN SAGES OF THE BAMBOO GROVE' VASE
QING DYNASTY, 18TH CENTURY
well decorated with a continuous scene of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove with attendants nearby, one figure depicted playing the qin whilst another three are gathered around a game of chess, between finely rendered friezes encircling the waisted neck and splayed foot, all below a further floral scroll band along the rim and painted in underglaze blue with accents picked out in copper red
48 cm, 18 ⅞ in.
Good overall condition, with just typical kiln grit at the mouthrim, and some insignificant scratching and surface wear.
"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 large vase, finely painted with an idyllic scene depicting the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, demonstrates the technical proficiency of the 18th century craftsmen. Not only is the painting on the vessel precisely and meticulously executed with fine details rendered in copper red, the skillful control of the highly unstable copper-red pigment is exceptionally impressive as it could easily run or fire to a much less striking tone during the firing process. The form of the current vase is likely to be modelled on the cylindrical rouleau vases made popular during the Kangxi reign, with the straight outlines of the prototypes replaced with more rounded and generous proportions. The portrayal of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, a group of scholars of the Wei dynasty (220-265) who had renounced their official status and career in protest against corruption, is a popular subject in the 18th century and one that reflects the way in which contemporaneous ideology was heavily steeped in Daoist beliefs and thoughts.
While no identical example depicting the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove appears to be recorded, there are comparable examples similarly decorated with Daoist motifs. See a slightly shorter example with a less bulbous body and decorated with the Three Star Gods, sold in these rooms, 28th November 2019, lot 15, from the collection of Sir Quo-Wei Lee. Compare also two slightly shorter examples with Qianlong seal marks and of the period, the first (46.2 cm) decorated with deer and pine trees from the Wang Xing Lou collection, published in Imperial Perfection. The Palace Porcelain of Three Chinese Emperors, Hong Kong, 2004, pl. 27; and the other (45 cm) painted with the Three Star Gods, from the collection of Ernest Grandidier, now in the Musée Guimet, Paris, no. G 4280.