Previously sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong, 15 May, 1990, lot 210.
The present vase is remarkable for its excellent quality of painting. The scene illustrated on this vase is probably inspired by the popular Chinese classical novel Sanguo Yanyi, 'The Romance of the Three Kingdoms'. The novel recalls the collapse of the Eastern Han dynasty when China splintered into separate states battling for political supremacy. It recounts the efforts of a member of the Han Imperial house, Liu Bei, who heroically attempted to reunite a divided country. Liu Bei formed an alliance with Guan Yu (later deified as Guandi, the Daoist god of war) and together they fought against Cao Cao, the ruler of the State of Wei who seized control of north China. For further reading on the subject, refer to the article by D.T. Johnson, Narrative Themes on Kangxi Porcelains in the Taft Museum, Orientations, August, 1993, pp.31-36.
A famille verte rouleau vase of this form, depicting an identical scene was sold at Christie's London, 13 November 2001, lot 231.