of ovoid form with a short neck below a lipped mouthrim, the exterior freely painted with two dragons in vivid tones of copper-red, each with arms out-stretched, eyes picked out in blue and their scaly bodies leaping vigourously amid trailing flame swirls, covered overall in a transparent glaze stopping neatly at the foot, the slightly sunken base with a six-character underglaze-blue reign mark
Dragon vases of this type appear with both underglaze-blue and copper-red decoration. Compare a related copper-red painted vase, with the dragon's eyes also picked out in blue, illustrated in John Ayers, Chinese Ceramics in the Baur Collection, vol. 2, Geneva, 1999, pl. 146; another in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, published in Rose Kerr, Chinese Ceramics. Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty, London, 1986, pl. 5; and a third from the Sir Percival David collection and now in the British Museum, London, included in Oriental Ceramics. The World's Great Collection, vol. 6, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 208. A smaller vase of this design, but with a ribbed mouth, is illustrated in Ayer, op. cit., pl. 144.
Compare also underglaze-blue decorated vases of this type, including one in the Palace Museum, Beijing, included in Kangxi. Yongzheng. Qianlong, Hong Kong, 1989, pl. 6; one in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, illustrated in Kangxi Wares from the Shanghai Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1998, pl. 12; another from the Wang Xin Lou collection, published in Imperial Perfection. The Palace Porcelain of Three Chinese Emperors, Hong Kong, 2004, pl. 1; and a fourth example from the J.M. Hu Family Collection, sold in our New York rooms, 4th June 1985, lot 23, and again at Christie's Hong Kong, 28th November 2006, lot 1317.
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