• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2711

    The Imperial Sale, Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    27 May 2009, Hong Kong

  • Lot 1871

    A FINE AND VERY RARE FAMILLE-VERTE 'WILD GEESE' YENYEN VASE

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A FINE AND VERY RARE FAMILLE-VERTE 'WILD GEESE' YENYEN VASE
    KANGXI (1662-1722)

    Of characteristic baluster-form rising to a wide trumpet-shaped neck, supported on a slightly splayed foot, naturalistically decorated in the famille verte palette and delicately highlighted with sepia enamel to depict five wild geese swimming along the bank and resting on the shore, decorated with flowering blossoms, reeds, millet and other plants issuing from the rocky surround, the scene divided by blue bands encircling the neck and floral-shaped cartouches on the shoulder, all between double line borders, fully glazed on the base and the interior
    18 3/8 in. (46.7 cm.) high


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    The present vase is of distinctive shape, design and quality. During the Kangxi period new shapes were introduced including the rouleaux and Yenyen vases. The Yenyen vase differs from its transitional predecessor in that it has a more balanced and less elongated form. Three border bands, one on the rim and foot, the third at the base of the neck is common on such vases, dividing two scenes of a same subject matter.

    Famille-verte, sometimes known as wucai, sees further sophistication during the Kangxi reign with added variety in shapes and design. The Kangxi Emperor was less intrigued by archaism than his successors, many designs during this period came from woodblock prints inspired by Ming novels such as 'Romance of the Three Kingdoms' and 'Romance of the Western Chamber', presented in panels. Examples of Yenyen vases with naturalistic rendering of a continuous landscape are rare, and this present vase with scenes from nature adheres closely to realism, with alluring measure and restraint.

    See an example of very similar shape and quality from the Palace Museum, Beijing, but with lotus flowers, illustrated in Kangxi, Yongzheng, Qianlong, Qing porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Forbidden City Publishing House, 1989, p.53, pl.36, described as a 'phoenix-tail'-shaped zun. Compare also a vase of this form with related decoration in the Umezawa Kinenkan, Tokyo, illustrated in Nakano, The Panoramic Views of Chinese Patterns, 1985, pl. 142.

    Provenance

    Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 27 April 1999, lot 424