An exceptional ‘guan’-type archaistic hexagonal vase Seal mark and period of Yongzheng | 清雍正 仿官窰天青釉六方貫耳尊《大清雍正年製》款
An exceptional ‘guan’-type archaistic hexagonal vase
Seal mark and period of Yongzheng
of hexagonal section, the faceted baluster body sitting on a splayed foot and rising to a waisted neck flanked by a pair of tubular handles, applied overall with an attractive greyish-blue glaze suffused with a network of fine crackles, saved for the footrim left unglazed and dressed in a brown wash, the countersunk base inscribed with the six-character seal mark in underglaze-blue
H. 45.7 cm, 18 in.
Exceptionnel vase hexagonal à glaçure de type guan, marque en cachet et époque Yongzheng
高 45.7 公分，18 英寸
The vase was mounted as a lamp with ormulu mounts since the early 20th century when found (photos with the bronze mounts available on request). Consequently there is some surface polishing to areas on the top rim in preparation to the fitting of the mounts as well as light polishing beneath the footrim. However the base has not been drilled. There is otherwise a 1.2 cm chip to the glaze on the rim, most likely consequent to the application of the mount as well as two further smaller chips in the glaze (0.5 and 0.3 cm). There is a hairline extending over the rim and on approx 3cm to the interior of the vase from a crackle on the outside. There is also a flake that has been re-stuck and another minute flake with associated crackles in the glaze on the other side. There is a darker hairline crackle to one of the tubular handles which can be felt when touching the glaze. It follows the original matrix of crackles and therefore probably results from the pressure of the bronze mounts which were fitted through the lug handles. There is a small minute chip to the interior of the footrim. The quality of the glaze and the colour are really exceptional.
"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."
A great connoisseur of antique porcelains and with a discerning aesthetic sense for works of art, the Yongzheng Emperor demanded the highest level of craftsmanship in the production of elegant and finely manufactured implements for personal enjoyment. Monochrome vessels required the great skill and precision in every stage of their production, from the purity of the clay and precision of the potting to the evenness of the glaze and control of the firing. The slightest irregularity would result in the rejection and destruction of the piece, thus pushing the craftsmen to the limits of their abilities, particularly in the production of large vessels such as the present. The subtle glaze has been created in imitation of the guan [official] wares of the Song period (960-1279) and reflects the Qing emperors’ penchant for these early wares, which they not only collected but also commissioned the imperial kilns to recreate or imitate as tribute. Even the unglazed foot has been stained with a brown wash to simulate its predecessors.
Yongzheng mark and period vases of this type are extremely rare, possibly due to the sheer difficulty for Jingdezhen craftsmen to successfully fire large vessels in this glaze. Another similar guan-type vase from the Qing court collection and still in Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Monochrome Porcelain, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 204, and another sold in these rooms, 9th October 2007, lot 1534.
Compare also a smaller celadon-glazed hexagonal vase from Yamanaka & Co. sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 8th October 2014, lot 3601, similar to another related vase, this time covered a crackled guan-type glaze, included in the Grand Exhibition of Ancient Chinese and Corean Works of Art, Yamanaka & Co., Osaka, 1934, cat. no. 608.
The production of such vase continues onto the Qianlong reign when their production appear to be more frequent. See a slightly smaller Ru-type hexagonal vase sold in our New York's room 23rd March 2011, lot 736, and two other related examples, the first sold twice in our Hong Kong rooms, the latest on 3rd October 2017, lot 3638 and another sold 8th October 2014, lot 3508, from the collection of Sakamoto Gorō.
雍正好雅慕古，喜愛古董珍瓷，品味出眾，要求藝匠以卓絕造詣製作秀麗佳品以供賞玩。單色釉製作工藝繁複，塑形、施釉及窰燒火候均須一絲不苟，各道工序無數，但見瑕疵，前工盡棄，巧匠須施渾身解數，如本品般體型巨大者尤甚。本作釉色秀雅，仿宋朝（960 – 1279年）官窰，清朝皇帝青睞宋代官窰瓷器，不僅收藏古董珍品，更令工匠巧製仿官窰器朝貢。工匠更於底足露胎處以深褐護胎釉塗之，以傚古瓷特徵。