An exceptional and large longquan celadon meiping Ming dynasty, Yongle period | 明永樂 龍泉青釉梅瓶
An exceptional and large longquan celadon meiping
Ming dynasty, Yongle period
Japanese wood boxes
The vase is in exceptionally good condition with just expected very light 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."
A Japanese private collection, prior to World War II.
Hirano Kotoken, 1978.
A Japanese private collection.
Deceptively simple in form and design, yet with its dynamic silhouette, this vase belongs to a group of elegant early Ming dynasty Longquan celadon wares. It embodies the achievements of the Longquan craftsmen as such undecorated vessels required the highest level of skill and precision in every stage of their production. Markedly top-heavy with a relatively narrow-waisted foot, this vase is a result of careful calculation: the exact proportions and firing temperature had to be achieved in order to prevent sagging or collapsing. The slightest irregularity in the clay, potting, glaze or firing would result in the destruction of the piece.
A slightly taller Longquan meiping from the Qing court collection, is preserved in the Palace Museum, Beijing, together with its original cover; see Longquan of the World: Longquan Celadon and Globalization, vol. II: State Vessels, Beijing, 2019, cat. no. 94. The author suggests that judging from its elegant shape, the Beijing example was probably made according to the authorised design for the Yongle court (p. 156). Four similar vases in the National Palace Museum, Taipei are included in the Museum's exhibition Green. Longquan Celadon of the Ming Dynasty, Taipei, 2009, cat. nos 64-67. Another example of this form and size in the Tokyo National Museum, formerly in the Yokogawa collection, is published in the Illustrated Catalogue of Tokyo National Museum. Chinese Ceramics, vol. 2, Tokyo, 1990, pl. 486. Two further vases were sold in our London rooms, one 20th May 1986, lot 2, the other, 10th November 2004, lot 561. Kiln wasters of many related vases and matching covers have been excavated from the imperial Longquan kilns at Chuzhou, Zhejiang province; see Ye Yingting and Hua Yunong, Faxian: Da Ming Chuzhou Longquan quanyao [Discover: Imperial ware of the great Ming dynasty from Longquan in Chuzhou], Hangzhou, 2005, pp. 38-101.
The form of this vase is an exaggerated version of the characteristic meiping of the Longquan kilns of the early Ming period and appears to derive from similar large blue and white prototypes from the imperial kilns at Jingdezhen; compare six meiping, decorated with various banded designs, excavated from the Yuan dynasty hoard at Gao'an country, illustrated in The Porcelain from the Cellar of the Yuan Dynasty in Gao'an, Shanghai, 2005, pp. 52-63. Longquan vases of this type were also decorated with scenes closely related to motifs developed at the Jingdezhen kilns; for example see a covered meiping carved with bamboo and prunus, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in Longquan of the World, op. cit., cat. no. 95. Such similarities support the notion that the court in Beijing commissioned and sent designs to Longquan kilns to be recreated for imperial use. Official documents record that the Longquan kilns were producing wares for the court until at least the Chenghua reign.