Previously sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 October 2001, lot 798.
Originally a bronze form, the jue is said to have been used during the Bronze Age for heating alcohol over fire, with the post-like handles on the mouth rim functioning as supports for lifting the vessel full of warmed liquid away from the heat. Such vessels were often dedicated for temple use as altar vessels, but from the Ming dynasty onward, porcelain jue were preferred over those made of metal. A white porcelain jue was excavated from the early Yongle strata in 1982 on the site of the Imperial kilns at Jingdezhen, and was included in the Exhibition of Imperial Porcelain of the Yongle and Xuande Periods Excavated from the Site of the Ming Imperial Factory at Jingdezhen, illustrated in the Catalogue, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 116, where it is noted that the first Ming emperor, Hongwu, ordered white porcelain jue to be used in sacrificial ceremonies. The Emperor also issued an edict in 1369 designating different colours for ritual use within the palace.
Other very similar aubergine-glazed jue vessels from the Qianlong period include one illustrated in Mayuayama, Seventy Years, Japan, 1976, vol. 1, no. 1079; one illustrated in The Baur Collection, vol. 2, Geneva, 1969, no. A473; a pair exhibited in the Kunstgewerbe Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Chinesische Keramik, 1923, and illustrated in the Catalogue, nos. 937 and 938; and another from the Robert Chang Collection, sold at Christie's Hong Kong,
2 November 1999, lot 507.