• Lot 1579


    Price Realised  


    Of archaistic hu form, the wide flared body rising to a sharp angle at the shoulder, tapering to the tall cylindrical neck, finely painted in rich underglaze-blue tones with three large continuous horizontal registers, each depicting lotus flowers growing amidst foliage, divided by a thin band of rolling crested waves above the base, on the shoulder and below the mouth rim, the neck flanked by a pair of cylindrical tubular handles similarly painted with lotus flowers and leaves
    20 7/8 in. (53 cm.) high

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    It is rare to find hu-shaped vases of this size and decoration, although two similar large vases are in the Palace Museum collection, Beijing, one illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Blue and White Porcelain with Underglazed Red, III, Hong Kong, 2000, p. 144, no. 130; and another a very similar vase is illustrated in Kangxi Yongzheng Qianlong, Qing Porcelain from the Palace Museum Collection, Hong Kong, 1989, p. 320, pl. 1.

    When compared with the present vase, it is interesting to note that the Beijing vases are each potted with a higher shoulder and the pattern of the lotus flowers is more densely designed. The shape and design of the Beijing vases were also produced in the doucai palette. Cf. two vases, the first formerly from the William O. Goodman collection, sold at Sotheby's New York, 1 June 1994, lot 443, now in the Au Bak Ling collection; and the other vase was sold at Sotheby's New York, 15 September 1999, lot 90. A third doucai lotus vase is in the Umezawa Kinenkan, Tokyo, included in the exhibition, Shinsho toji, MOA Art Museum, Atami, 1984, illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 14.

    The cited Qing dynasty blue and white examples including the present vase were inspired by Ming dynasty Xuande period porcelain, and imitated Xuande blue and white vases with cylindrical handles that were themselves copying earlier Song ceramics. For a Ming blue and white prototype, see a vase in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, illustrated in Ming Xuande Ciqi Tezhan Mulu, 'Special Catalogue of Ming dynasty Xuande period Porcelain', Taipei, 1983, no. 8.

    It appears that as early the Yongzheng period, large vases of this type were produced, cf. a hu-shape vase, decorated with composite floral scrolls bearing a Yongzheng six-character mark in the National Palace Museum collection, Taipei, illustrated in Blue-and-White Ware of The Ch'ing Dynasty, Book 1, Hong Kong, 1968, pl. 3 and pls. 3a-c. Archival records indicated that in the third year of the Qianlong period (1738), instructions were sent to Jingdezhen which requested for: Xuan yao fang da sheung guan zhi kuo zun, 'vases like those with straight necks and cylindrical handles of the Xuan (de) period but make them larger', op. cit., 2000, p. 145. Compare a related Qianlong-marked blue and white of this same hu-shape but decorated with the 'Eight Buddhist Emblems' in the Beijing Palace Museum, illustrated ibid, no. 131.


    A private Italian collection, reputed to have been acquired in China in the early 20th century, sold at Sotheby's London, 12 November 2003, lot 172

    Pre-Lot Text