A large dark-blue-glazed vase, tianqiuping, Qianlong seal mark and period | 清乾隆 藍釉天球瓶 《大清乾隆年製》款
A large dark-blue-glazed vase, tianqiuping
Qianlong seal mark and period
the robustly potted globular body rising to a tall broad cylindrical neck, covered overall with a dark-blue glaze thinning slightly at the rim and stopping neatly above the foot, the interior and base glazed white, the base with a six-character seal mark in underglaze blue
Height 20 in., 50.8 cm
Some scratches to the glaze on the body.
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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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Christie's New York, 18th September 1997, lot 377.
Christie's New York, 18th September 2003, lot 352.
The present vase is impressive for its magnificent size and eye-catching dark-blue glaze. The term tianqiuping, sometimes translated as 'celestial sphere vase', derives from the vase's form, which is characterized by a generously proportioned globular body surmounted by a tall cylindrical neck. Tianqiuping gained prominence during the Qianlong period (1735-1796) of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). They were produced in different sizes, with heights ranging from approximately 50 cm to 60 cm. The taller versions often exhibit a slightly elongated neck and sloping shoulder, which lifts the focal point of the body and gives an impression of relative lightness. The present vase, by contrast, is a handsome example of the shorter, bolder body type, featuring a broad neck and lower center of gravity which enhance the vase's sense of volume and commanding presence.
In the Qianlong period, tianqiuping could be decorated in underglaze blue patterns with or without the addition of polychrome overglaze enamels, fully painted in the famille-rose palette, or monochrome-glazed with Guan-type, Ge-type, 'clair-de-lune', or cobalt-blue glaze. The present vase is evenly covered with thick dark cobalt-blue glaze. Compare a taller example in the collection of the Nanjing Museum, included in the exhibition Qing Imperial Porcelain of Kangxi Yongzheng and Qianlong Reigns, Nanjing Museum and Art Gallery of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1995, cat. no. 66. Another related example in the National Palace Museum, Taipei (accession no. 中-瓷-001180-N000000000), is published in their online collection database.
See also an example sold in these rooms, 19th November 1982, lot 261; and three further examples of slightly taller size, one sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 22nd May 1985, lot 232; one sold at Christie's London, 21st April 1984, lot 318; and one sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30th May 2006, lot 1368.